Long-Distance Psychoanalysis and Demand

One of the reasons psychoanalysis has declined as a praxis in this continent has to do with the individual’s self-diagnosis and his subsequent lack of demand. However, at the same time that this is happening research reports that there has been increased demand in the service sector toward online and long-distance options. In other words, people no longer want to go to the bank to do business, they no longer want to go to the cell phone store to discuss their cellular phone plan with a person face-to-face, and so on. In other words, one of the things that practitioners fail to address is the social-cultural context of the demand. Today it is not simply that the demand no longer exists but that it has been displaced onto the internet. This presents a number of new problems and solutions for practitioners. Unfortunately, practitioners have been slow to adopt long-distance psychoanalysis. At best, some practitioners offer long-distance options as a secondary value added benefit.

Fortunately, as Bruce Fink and many others have argued, long-distance psychoanalysis may actually offer a better analysis. In other words, it might actually be a better alternative to the couch. Of course, those steeped in traditional practice respond with frustration and disdain. But their failure to engage with the possibility that the demand is still there also keeps them from confronting the new symptoms of the classical clinical structures. The Lacanian cultural theorists know this too well but fail to put it into practice and the Lacanian practitioners do not know it well enough yet continue to practice. Freud was very clear on this: we must be cultural theorists even while we are practitioners.

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