Versing the Analyst and Patient in Sound and Silence: Deadness, Aliveness and Transformative Truth

  • PPSC, 80 Fifth Ave, Suite 903A NY, NY 10011

This talk has been approved by New York State for 2 hours of Continuing Education Credit for LMSWs & LCSWs. Lecture will be led by Mary Wallach, MFA, LCSW.

Only a poem can talk about what we could not have imagined without the poem.—James Tate.

In Promises, Promises: Psychoanalysis and Literature, Adam Phillips asks, “If the analyst were to aim to be more like a poet than a scientist, what would his work be like? What would he be wanting of and from his patient?” In this lively, power-point presentation, psychotherapist/poet Mary Wallach will define and identify what “poetic thinking” is and discuss how poetry teaches us about communication, imagination, metaphor and process in psychoanalytic practice and theory. Following Thomas Ogden’s observation that “poetry is a great disciplinarian to analytic listening,” she will demonstrate how both successful poetry and analysis share elements of structure, language, paradox and surprise.

In addition, we will be reading and comparing two contemporary American poems from Mary’s paper, Listening to Oedipus:  Two Poems by Sons about Fathers: “The Lost Pilot” by James Tate (1991)  and “Waving Goodbye to My Father” by Michael Blumenthal (1997) .  It is recommended that you read these poems out loud in order to savor the shifts in tone, rhythm and sense of the words.  Focus on sounds and silence that occur in your reading, as much as the meaning.

Mary Wallach, MFA, LCSW completed, a Masters Degree Social Work at Hunter College and post-graduate training at the Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Study CenterShe received a Masters in Fine Art in Writing at Columbia University. Her poems have appeared in The Mississippi Review, Cider Press Review, The Shangri-la Shack, The Road Not Taken and other publications.

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