Bryant Welch J.D., Ph.D. has had a long and distinguished career. Trained as a psychoanalyst, he has worked in private practice as well as in senior levels of APA governance, and has fought tirelessly throughout his career for the expansion of psychology. Reflecting on the state of the field and how to get more students interested in psychoanalysis, this is what he had to say:

"I think in terms of developments in the field it is honestly the most exciting time in the 40 years I have been working in psychology. I think what we are seeing is a confluence of developments in neuroscience, which are building the kind of bridge that I think Freud envisioned when he talked about wanting psychoanalysis to really be a science of the mind and the brain. It provides very firm evidence of what relationships do and makes the developments in relational psychoanalysis all the more powerful and relevant."

"If you take neuroscience, relational psychoanalysis, and then you look at the development of our understanding of trauma, you've got three increasingly integrating views of what goes on, what causes an enormous percentage of the psychological suffering in society. These things are now for the first time really informing one another and, in contrast to the old mind/body dichotomy, these things now are seen as different sides to the same coin in a very meaningful way; a view that did not exist a couple decades ago."

Dr. Welch continued his discussion of the mind/body connection and suggested that contemplative practices that utilize meditation or other somatic approaches can "address the kinds of experiences we are now able to track with neuroscience, that we can understand and put a narrative around with relational psychoanalysis," allowing us to more fully "address the psychological side of trauma."

In terms of garnering greater interest among students, Dr. Welch stated, "I think psychoanalysis will do well if it expands its boundaries and becomes less concerned with the formality of its training institutes, and builds meaningful bridges to neuroscience and trauma. Then, I think you have a product that helps people much more dramatically than psychoanalysis did before. If you communicate to young people around this and communicate clearly, they are going to sign up for your graduate programs, they are going to sign up for your institutes."

Dr. Welch concluded the interview by emphasizing the spiritual aspect underlying the motivation to engage in psychoanalytic work. "Most students who go through academic undergraduate psychology programs are turned off by psychology and I think we give them a very important alternative."

Mark McKinley, M.A.
Impulse Staff Writer