Letter from New York
by Dinah Mendes
New York, New York, USA
Indulging the hope that we’ll be returning to psychotherapy and psychoanalysis in person and in office in the not too distant future, I wonder what, if anything, I will take away from this new and enforced remote arrangement. Although by the end of the day, my eyes are dry and achy from staring at the screen, it’s also true that the narrowing and intensity of focus seem also to have fostered a heightened concentration and attentiveness. Do I only imagine that I register the shifting expressions of my patients more acutely and record their words and inflections more carefully? I feel grateful to them for continuing to communicate with me, and the external circumstances that we share establish a novel symmetry and bond. Essential freedoms, once taken for granted, are curtailed now: breathing in the air unthinkingly and walking outside; brushing up against other humans and speaking to them without fear. Loss and deprivation heighten perceived value, and the significance of human connection has never felt dearer. And in the special form of relationship created in psychotherapy and psychoanalysis, the perception of the potential and power of attuned listening that lies at the heart of the work seems amplified too. Perhaps some of this raised consciousness and appreciation will be carried into better times.
Dinah Mendes, PhD, is a member of IPTAR and a psychotherapist and psychoanalyst in private practice in NY.
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