Northern California Society for Psychoanalytic Psychology



Like everyone else, you did the hard time in graduate school, then out on parole in various internships, and finally licensure. You thought you were clear. But, THEY started appearing.

In your office, THEY made you stilted and remote with patients. THEY surprised you by showing up in the formerly benign face of a colleague at a case conference. THEY were heard in the inflection of a consultant's comment. THEY were there when writing process notes, ensuring your utterances were superlatively worded transference interpretations.

You tried your best to stop them. You downloaded "Vicissitudes," an app that claimed to measure when a session reached Pure Psychoanalysis. The graphic interface was at first amusing. You were delighted and even felt vindicated when the meter reached the red zone, which meant a true analytic moment had occurred. Soon, however, the meter became an obsession: how long could you actually keep it in the red? You even went so far as to pay $1.99 for the upgraded features. Then, you were tracking alpha elements, PS ⇔ D, and evolutions in O. The whole affair was puzzling. If you were seemingly getting more psychoanalytic, why were THEY now appearing more frequently?

Finally, one night you have the following dream. You are in what appears to be your office, sitting in your chair. However, the walls, floor and ceiling of your office are completely covered with little mirrors. There is a patient sitting across the room, facing you. When he starts to talk, the mirrors start to shatter. Glass begins to fall on you from the walls and ceiling. When shards hit you, they don't hurt. To make this stop, you remember that you have to speak. The mirrors reconstitute. This process repeats itself, but sometimes you shatter the mirrors and the patient fixes them. It is a game -- or, perhaps, it has always been a game, but you are just now realizing it. This realization makes the game tedious, yet you know you won't stop playing. You start to feel uneasy. Glass is now shattering everywhere, but you can't seem to stop it like before. The glass turns into liquid. Your office has suddenly become the deck of a ship on the open sea. You look out. An intense feeling of loneliness causes the dream to cease. Upon waking, you are inarticulate and serene.

Matthew Morrissey, MFT