Back to All Events

Woman is Perfect: A Discussion of Hilda Doolittle's Analysis with Freud and a Close Reading of Her Poem, The Master

  • PPSC 80 5th Avenue, Room 1408 New York, NY, 10011 United States (map)

"Woman is Perfect": A Discussion of Hilda Doolittle's Analysis with Freud and a Close Reading of Her Poem, The Master

Paul Geltner, DSW and Mary Wallach, MFA, LCSW

In 1933, H. D. (Hilda Doolittle), a great Modernist writer, started an analysis with Freud because she was unable to write and wanted "to free herself from repetitive thoughts and experiences". She left with her creative powers unblocked. Afterwards, H. D. wrote two prose books about the experience. And a magnificent poem -- The Master -- which describes both her passionate disagreements with Freud and her profound appreciation for their relationship, and celebrates the feeling of powerful, creative womanhood that she acquired in the course of the analysis.

Paul Geltner will discuss aspects of H.D.'s life and her analysis — an analytic relationship that reveals a side of Freud’s clinical work seldom found in his writings or other patients’ memoirs: moments of emotional availability, vulnerability, and transparency, his openness to a gender-fluid, bisexual woman, and the creativity of his technique compared to the parsimonious rules he recommended to others. 

Mary Wallach will read The Master and lead a stanza by stanza discussion of the poem.

Dr. Paul Geltner. is the author of Emotional Communication: Countertransference Analysis and the Use of Feeling in Psychoanalytic Technique, and of papers on dreams and child analysis. He has has been the Director of Psychoanalytic Education at the Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Study Center, and has taught Northern Rockies Psychoanalytic Institute, Center for Modern Psychoanalytic Studies, and the Colorado Center for Modern Psychoanalysis. He is in private practice in New York City, working with individuals and couples. He specializes in individual and group supervision with psychoanalysts and psychoanalytic psychotherapists.

Mary Wallach, M.F.A., L.C.S.W., is in private practice in New York City where she practices both psychoanalytic and EMDR psychotherapy. She has published papers on poetry and psychoanalysis inThe Journal of The American Academy of Psychoanalysis and Dynamic Psychiatry and has presented on this topic at the PPSC Annex and the Artist Study Group at The William Alanson White Institute. She also holds a M.F.A. in Writing from Columbia University and has published poetry in the American Philosophical Association Newsletter of Philosophy and Medicine, Shangri-la Shack, The Mississippi Review, Mockingheart Review and other journals. She is available for poetry workshops and readings

*This talk has been approved by New York State for 2 hours of Continuing Education Credit for LMSWs and LCSWs.