BEHIND THE COUCH: Revelations of a Psychoanalyst by Herbert S. & Lucy Freeman Strean

BEHIND THE COUCH: Revelations of a Psychoanalyst

Email this review


What does a psychiatrist--hidden from view behind the couch--do while the patient maunders on about problems with mommy and daddy? Here, Strean, a classic Freudian, teams up with prolific psychiatric writer Freeman (as he did in Guilt: Letting Go, 1986) to reveal his procedures in dealing with a baker's dozen of deeply troubled patients. Contrary to many patients' suspicions, Strean doesn't snooze behind that couch; rather he free-associates about his own similiar life experiences (replete with insights from his subconscious) to help him to raise leading questions (rarely specific advice) that hopefully bring the patient to an understanding of his or her problems. For instance, in one case he suggested to a newlywed who broke into hives and gagged every time she tried to discuss her inability to have sex that it might be better if she stopped trying to talk for a while. Silence reigned for six months while Strean reflected on the pressures the woman must have endured when, at age six, following her mother's death, she had to do housework and cooking for her father. For several months, Strean also chewed over her husband's belated revelation that she had become sexually active early on in the analysis. After the patient finally began talking again, Strean was able to help her resolve her repressed ""Oedipal passion"" for, and anger at, her father. Or, when a male patient's anti-Jewish invective (which stirred painful memories) took on a homosexual cast, Strean mused about his own sexual ambiguities and his belief that homosexual feelings are normal. He was thus able to offer reassurances as the patient finally began to grapple with his profoundly terrifying sexual fears. Illuminating: reveals more about the inner workings of Freudian analysis than a score of more conventional books.

Pub Date: May 31st, 1988
Publisher: Wiley