ads without products

hell 1: the end of therapy

with 5 comments

Infamously, there’s no appropriate time to quit psychoanalysis. Like heaven, there’s no polite means of egress: you either just keep going with it or you fall out of it through an act of disobedience.

The crisis that brought you to it in the first place has subsided, in part due to the work on the couch and in part because time passes and the world and you move on, but there you are, sitting on the self-same couch with ever less to say. On the way there for your morning sessions, you read novels on the train, say Peter Handke’s On a Dark Night I Left My Silent House, and you get blissfully caught up in the idea of rewriting Madame Bovary, except through the eyes of Homais, which seems to be in some part what Handke’s doing. The small town pharmacist and his everyday life, this time in Austria instead of Normandy but that only makes it better. And now it’s the pharmacist, rather than the randy wife of his neighbour, who is addicted to obsolescent romances.

You think the phrase: Madame Bovary, c’est Homais, aujourdhui. And admire, as the Circle Line pulls into Baker Street Station, both Flaubert and Handke immensely. You have found a new friend in the latter, and that is something, that is rare.

But then, in the five minutes that you have to walk from the station to the flat where your analyst has his office, you have to come up with something to say, some fodder for the 50 minutes. This week has been going well so far sounds, within the therapeutic context, like a lie and an incredible waste of money at once. It sounds like a lie because, within the therapeutic context, as is well known, everything’s OK, OK enough is even more deeply redolent of dysfunctional repression than, say, admitting to sniffing your mother’s high heels or having recurrent disturbing dreams about wolves sitting on the tree outside your bedroom.

You wish that you could just stop at a coffee place and give yourself another hour with the Handke. Instead, you ring the bell with nothing prepared, sit on the couch, and begin: This week has been going well, by and large…

Now, and here’s why I’m thinking I’ll quit, therapy, perhaps the most unnatural thing in the world, shares one trait with its verdant antagonist: it, too, abhors a vacuum. And so you dither around for a bit, wandering around the woods of your week of OKness, searching for half-hints of the older problems, the tailhook of crisis and fear. And of course, of course, eventually you find it and there you are back again conversationally reanimating the affective power of something that you’ve spent time and money and unpleasant thought neutralising.

Psychoanalysis, in this sense, suffers from the same infernal logic as narrative prose itself. Handke’s novel stays stuck in housewandering routines of its pharmacist for a bravely long time…. But then something happens, a crash and then the arrival of the fantastic or the projective. It happens, according to the mandates of form – the mandate that time gets formed into instants and events laden with significance – just as my sessions dive away from the depredations of the quotidian and back to my childhood home, the evental break points of adolescence and afterward.

The memoir that therapy would coauthor will accommodate chaos in the present and of course the miserable, belated epiphanies of childhood. But it has no page space for the soft depredations of the static present, of thoughtless animal scavenge, of the softly catastrophic status-quo.

Written by adswithoutproducts

August 9, 2009 at 7:26 pm

5 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. “So, David, how have things been going?”

    “It’s been pretty good so far, but I’m hoping for some intense psychological trauma to materialise by Thursday. I’ve started having random conversations on the Tube, really trying to aggravate my repressed desire to throw hammers at people who read Alain de Botton in public. I hate those bastards. Sure, what they get up to in the privacy of their homes is their own business, but there should be laws against public indecency like that.”

    David

    August 9, 2009 at 12:02 pm

  2. Hmmm… you’ve started to insert yourself into the me position. What’s up with that? Slip?

    Ads

    August 9, 2009 at 10:14 pm

  3. ‘disturbing dreams about wolves sitting on the tree outside your bedroom.’

    You said it, sister.

    We’re waiting… The Triumvirate wants many new literary debuts with many encores. What we want are enruptured frames. And we always get what we want ATS.

    jeremiah 397

    August 10, 2009 at 1:56 am

  4. I just felt that the hammer reference was too gratuitous to put into your mouth.

    David

    August 10, 2009 at 7:32 am

  5. jeremiah,

    I don’t understand….

    David,

    Yeah, no hammer throwing from me. I save all the rage for the blog…

    Ads

    August 10, 2009 at 10:07 am


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: