Category Archives: Artistic process

Springsteen: “The Boss” and Psychoanalysis – by Thomas Svolos

Thomas Svolos writes in The Lacanian Review [read the whole article here]: 

“In the United States, many Americans within a generation or two of my age—meaning, many Americans—recognize the musician Bruce Springsteen as “The Boss.”  Springsteen’s songwriting, his lyrics, and his marathon, high energy concert performances have, for decades, attracted fans across the country, critical and popular acclaim, and enormous success.  He has been at the very top of the pop/rock music industry.

Springsteen recently published an autobiography, titled Born to Run, named after his 1975 breakout album.  I recently read this book and was immediately struck by the high level of awareness in his writing.  To me, his songs have always been straight up with a lyrical quality to them that, however, could have easily fallen flat, but—coming through in the songs and in his performances—Springsteen’s internal sensitivities and external perceptiveness elevate them to something very special in the pop/rock world.  This same quality of awareness comes through in the book as well, especially the first half or so up to his achievement of fame and major recognition.  Indeed, he spends a lot of time very carefully describing his background growing up in a tough, blue collar part of New Jersey with a stern and difficult father and the way in which he struggled to find both personal and professional identity (a word he uses often) and in which he developed his passion for the guitar, for playing music, and eventually for singing and writing.  He writes with this great awareness for what he is experiencing internally, as it were, and also the ways in which his relationships and the world he grew up in impacts his playing, the ways in which he works with his various groups, and the very themes of his songs and albums.  One thing he emphasizes is the very determined desire he had—his ambition for himself and for his music.

At one point, he has made it, achieved some serious recognition, and decides that he will travel across the United States—take a road trip—with a close friend.  Driving across Texas, he stops in a small town, watches the small town dance and celebrate one evening, and this, he writes, brings on a deep sense of dread and anguish—”a deeper anxiety than I’ve ever known.” Springsteen is paralyzed.  He talks about being, at that point in his life, forced finally to confront something that he had been defending against all his life (“the defenses I built… outlived their usefulness”), something that his passion, his ambition, and his desire was shielding himself from—something he allusively describes through the book as darkness, depression—what strikes me as some piece of the Real.  And, at that point in the book, some 300 pages in, he writes that he sought out counsel from his manager, a friend, who finds a professional for him to see in California, and that he is eventually referred to Wayne Myers, a New York psychoanalyst.  He writes that he saw his psychoanalyst for twenty five years: “The results of my work with Dr. Myers and my debt to him are at the heart of this book.”

[read the rest of the article here]…

Psychoanalyst & Author Anouchka Grose on life, training and practice as a psychoanalyst.

Recorded at the launch event of Lambeth and Southwark MIND psychotherapy clinic, psychoanalyst and author Anouchka Grose talks with Ajay Khandelwal about her life, the difficulties that took her into analysis as well as her subsequent training and practice as a psychoanalyst.

Anouchka Grose: The Unconscious from Freud to Lacan

Anouchka Grose

[Click here to visit the Freud Museum Site and hear the Podcast]

While the contents of the unconscious might be obscure and perplexing, when Freud spoke about ‘the unconscious’ he meant something very precise. This talk will look at Freud’s ‘discovery’ of the unconscious, and at his conceptualisation of it. It will also deal with the peculiar logic of symptom formation. From there, it will go on to look at Lacan’s notion of the language-like unconscious, showing how this was developed in accordance with Freud’s ideas.

Anouchka Grose is a psychoanalyst and writer practising in London. She is a member of the Centre for Freudian Analysis and Research, where she regularly lectures. She is the author of No More Silly Love Songs: a realist’s guide to romance (Portobello, 2010) and Are you Considering Therapy (Karnac, 2011), and is the editor of ‘Hysteria Today’, a collection of essays to be published by Karnac later this year. She also writes for The Guardian and teaches at Camberwell School of Art.

Why Remember? LSE Podcast with Lisa Appignanesi, Darian Leader & Owen Sheers

Why remember

[Click here to go the the LSE site and listen to the podcast.]

Speaker(s): Lisa Appignanesi, Darian Leader, Owen Sheers
Chair: Professor Sandra Jovchelovitch

Recorded on 28 February 2015.

This panel explores our relationship with our sometimes traumatic past, and asks why we should remember and what happens when we can’t remember. The discussion considers the importance of place and landscape in memory, as well as the nature of collective memory and memorialisation, particularly in the context of war.

Lisa Appignanesi (@LisaAppignanesi) is a writer, novelist and broadcaster. She is the former Chair of the Freud Museum London, the former President of English PEN and former Deputy Director of London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts. Her non-fiction includes Mad, Bad and Sad: A History of Women and the Mind Doctors (which won the BMA Award for the Public Understanding of Science amongst other prizes), the acclaimed family memoir Losing the Dead, the classic study Freud’s Women (with John Forrester) and Simone de Beauvoir, and most recently Trials of Passion: Crimes in the Name of Love and Madness. Her novels include Paris Requiem, The Memory Man and The Dead of Winter. Lisa Appignanesi was awarded the OBE in 2013.

Darian Leader is a psychoanalyst working in London and a founder member of the Centre for Freudian Analysis and Research. He is President of the College of Psychoanalysts-UK and Visiting Professor at the School of Human and Life Sciences, Roehampton University. He is the author of several books including: Introducing Lacan, Why do women write more letters than they post?; Freud’s Footnotes; Stealing the Mona Lisa: What Art Stops Us From Seeing, Why do people get ill?’ (with David Corfield), The New Black: Mourning, Melancholia and Depression and What is Madness? His most recent book, Strictly Bipolar was published by Hamish Hamilton in 2013.

Owen Sheers (@owensheers) has written two collections of poetry, The Blue Book and Skirrid Hill, which won a Somerset Maugham award. His verse drama Pink Mist won Wales Book of the Year and the Hay Festival Poetry Medal. His non-fiction includes The Dust Diaries and Calon: A Journey to the Heart of Welsh Rugby. His first novel Resistance has been translated into ten languages and was made into a film in 2011. His plays include The Passion, The Two Worlds of Charlie F. and Mametz. Owen wrote and presented BBC Four’s A Poet’s Guide to Britain. He has been a NYPL Cullman Fellow, Writer in Residence for the Wordsworth Trust and Artist in Residence for the Welsh Rugby Union. His second novel I Saw A Man will be published by Faber in 2015


Psychoanalyst Adam Phillips: Poetry as Therapy

Adam Phillips PoetryAdam Phillips: “On the one hand, psychoanalysis is practical in the sense that there is an attempt to solve a problem, or to cure somebody, or at least to address their suffering. But the other thing that psychoanalysis does is that the project is to enable somebody to speak. It’s the attempt to create the conditions in which somebody can speak themselves as fully as possible.”

[Click here to read the whole article on The Economist site]

The play that wants to change the way we treat mental illness

lapland schitzophreniaCan theatre offer a cure for psychosis? It’s unlikely – and it would be unwise for any theatre-maker even to try. What theatre can do, though, is convey the experience of psychosis: the hallucinations and delusions – often terrifying, sometimes comical – that define reality for those with schizophrenia and related conditions. [Click here to read the rest of the article on the Guardian site.]

Making Space – Psychoanalysis and Artistic Process – videos from 2012 UCL conference

Making SpaceVideos from ‘Psychoanalysis and Artistic Process – a day of dialogues between artists and psychoanalysts’ which took place on 25th February 2012 at University College London. Discussion between artists and psychoanalysts including Kenneth Wright, Sharon Kivland, Grayson Perry, Valerie Sinason, Martin Creed and Lesley Caldwell.
[To view these videos on Vimeo, please click here (page 1) and here (page2)]