NCSPP

Northern California Society for Psychoanalytic Psychology

From the Editor

by Shlomit Gorin, MA
 
"The line separating 'public politics' from 'private distress' is culturally constructed, and not always very clear, even as we seek to police it. That line has rarely seemed less clear than it does today," wrote British sociologist William Davies in a recent article entitled "The Age of Pain." In the 1960s, second-wave feminists highlighted the illusory nature of such a line, leading to the creation of the now ubiquitous slogan "The Personal Is Political." But in contrasting the political upheaval of the 1960s to that of today, Davies makes an interesting distinction: "Back then, people were coming to define themselves by their pleasures: their sexual desires, consumer preferences, lifestyle choices. Today, many are coming to define themselves by their pains: past traumas, mental illnesses and chronic health conditions."
 
Today, post-election, we are approaching a new year marked by perverted populism and personal despair deeply rooted in socioeconomic suffering, including impaired access to mental health services. In "Analysis Terminable and Interminable," Freud wrote, "The psychical apparatus is intolerant of unpleasure; it has to fend it off at all costs, and if the perception of reality entails unpleasure, that perception--that is, the truth--must be sacrificed." A fight for pleasure has become a fight against pain, a life-or-death struggle where healing and repair are absent and distortion thrives. Undoubtedly, we have witnessed, and continue to witness, the slaying of truth on an unprecedented level. Ironically, a self-proclaimed savior has stoked the fires of paranoia, a move that has both led to his rise and likely ensured continued persecution.
 
While we continue our efforts to preserve the privacy of our patients' innermost fears, desires, wishes, and despair, let's also remember that there is no such thing as private pain.