In the Shadow of Freud's Couch


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CBS News
In this web-exclusive interview, Mark Gerald talked to Susan Spencer about the evolution of analyst's office space since the time of Sigmund Freud; the importance of objects and artwork for both analyst and analysand; and the ubiquitous couch.
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New York Times
“I think psychoanalysis is undergoing an enormous change, and I’m not sure we’re even going to have offices in the future,” Dr. Gerald said. “So there’s something about where we are as a field that seems important to set down for the record.”
Dr. Gerald began his project by photographing himself. He then asked analyst friends to sit for portraits. Gradually, he sought out analysts he did not know, and somewhat to his surprise found them generally amenable, some even bringing a change of clothes to the shoot.
His approach to his subjects would seem to borrow something from his gentle couchside manner.
“It’s important for me to help the person who’s there to recognize that we’re working together,” Dr. Gerald said, “that I’m not staring at them; that I’m looking at them but need their help in seeing them.”
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American Psychological Association
Gerald writes that professional offices are more than simply a workspace as we bring to the spaces memories of all the homes we have inhabited. To this end, the photographs are stimulating in a manner admittedly somewhat voyeuristic but importantly, quite different from a centerfold. Certainly, we are treated to a subject matter that is not what we typically see in photographs – other practitioners in their offices to be specific. This is the land of intimate encounters. But these photographs do not trivialize the intimacy. Simply, the photographs are inviting and loving.
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Mark Gerald, The Psychoanalytic Office: Past, Present, and Future
What is it about a psychoanalytic office? How connected, even merged, are we and our patients with these spaces? What do they say about us individually and collectively? How are these offices similar and different from other work spaces? What happens when offices are changed, when we move? What is the future of the psychoanalytic office? Some of these questions would require more time than I can address in this paper. But let me start at the beginning—at Berggasse 19, the Vienna office (and home) of Sigmund Freud.
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Mark Gerald, uno psicanalista di New York, ha avuto un'idea originale: fotografare alcuni colleghi all'interno dei loro studi.
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