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Psychology, Depression and Psychoanalysis PDF Print E-mail
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Sunday, 17 November 2013 14:48

This is the first time I am updating The Hanoudi Letter with something slightly more scientific than the usual inserts which has been going into the site for almost five years now.  Today’s piece is entitled psychology, depression and psychoanalysis, a modality for the treatment which was fashioned by the famous psychiatrist Sigmund Freud who emphasized the influence of the unconscious mind on behavior, I have personally been greatly interested in this topic even during the old days in Iraq with my very heavy clinical practice in my own field, ophthalmology, but when I came to the United States and was unable to practice.   My interest was rekindled in psychiatry, in the beginning when I had to suffer the depressing days of waiting for some improvement of my son’s condition who was struggling for his life in an old nursing home and having to take him to the nearby Beaumont Hospital for the management of one or the other of the crises he was prone to as a result of the coma like state he was suffering from.  When Nazar finally passed away in December 2011, I was in such a bad mental state which forced to try and learn more about depression and its treatment.

In an age of moral and spiritual decline and a dismal return to utterly deplorable practices, there is an exceptional need to start reexamining the great issues of life, including, life itself, work, technology, money, and the desire to alter the world for the better.  And no one from amongst the plethora of modern sciences is better equipped to deal with these questions than psychology in spite of the fact that amongst all the sciences, psychology is perhaps the most mysterious to the general public, and the most prone to misconceptions, even though its language and ideas have infiltrated every culture, most people have only a hazy idea of what the subject is about and what psychologists actually do.

The word Psychology comes from the ancient Greek "psyche" meaning soul or mind and "logia" a study or account, which seems to sum up the broad scope of the subject, but today the word most accurately describes the sciences of the mind and behavior focusing on such questions as individual perceptions of the world and self, recall of events and ideas, problem solving, use of language and other mental tasks, group interaction, adjustment to the social and physical environment, and the normal development of these processes from infancy to old age.

Psychiatry is the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders.

Psychology is part of everyone's experience: it influences the way we think about everything from education and intelligence to relationships.

Psychology is an academic and applied discipline that involves the scientific study of mental functions and behavior it has the immediate goal of understanding individuals and groups by both establishing general principles and researching specific cases.  A professional practitioner or researcher in this field is called a psychologist and can be classified as a social, behavioral, or cognitive scientist.

The study of psychology in a philosophical context dates back to the ancient civilizations of Egypt, Greece, China, India, and Persia.  Historians point to the writings of ancient Greek philosophers, such as Thales, Plato, and Aristotle as the first significant body of work in the West to be rich in psychological thought. As early as the 4th century BC, Greek physician Hippocrates theorized that mental disorders were of a physical, rather than divine, nature, and emotions, advertising, and criminality.  People readily behave as amateur psychologists, offering explanations for what we think, feel, and do.

The scientific study of psychology involves many sub-disciplines which are dealt with by many schools which deal with them, but I am going to talk today about only one of them, Psychoanalysis.

Psychoanalysis is a set of psychological and psychotherapeutic theories and associated techniques, originally popularized by Austrian physician Sigmund Freud and stemming partly from the clinical work of Josef Breuer and others. Since then, psychoanalysis has expanded and been revised, reformed and developed in different directions. This was initially by Freud's colleagues and students, such as Alfred Adler and Carl Gustav Jung who went on to develop their own ideas independently from Freud, including the neo-Freudians, Erich Fromm, Karen Horney, Harry Stack Sullivan and Jacques Lacan and Freud’s own daughter Anna. Psychoanalysis has been very successful in the management of depression.  which is very common across the world.

Depression is a major health problem which is extremely common across the world. Clinical depression is a serious condition that negatively affects how a person thinks, feels, and behaves. In contrast to normal sadness, clinical depression is persistent, and significantly interferes with daily life. Untreated, symptoms can last for weeks, months, or years; and if inadequately treated, depression can lead to other health-related issues. Symptoms include: a depressed mood most of the day, every day; diminished interest in daily activities; changes in appetite and sleeping patterns; fatigue; restlessness; anxiety; feelings of worthlessness or helplessness; difficulty concentrating; increased alcohol or drug use; thoughts of death or suicide. In a new research of the problem which was conducted by a team of workers from the university of Queensland’s school of population health reported and I quote, “Depression is a big problem and we definitely need to pay more attention to it than we are now,”, they said, “There's still more work to be done in terms of awareness of the disease and also in coming up with successful ways of treating it.” end quote. But I am not going to talk about the various approaches to the treatment of depression, because I want to say few words about bioenergetics, a fairly recent modality in the treatment of depression. In most cases feeling depressed at times, can be a normal reaction to loss, life struggles, or an injury to self-esteem, but it can also a primary disease which is genetically determined , in which your sadness will become more severe and would start to interfere with your normal daily activities , which should be treated.

Bioenergetic analysis is a form of body psychotherapy, which is based upon the work of Wilhelm Reich [Wilhelm Reich (24 March 1897 – 3 November 1957), Reich was an Austrian psychoanalyst, a member of the second generation of psychoanalysts after Sigmund Freud, and one of the most radical figures in the history of psychiatry, but adding a number of major improvements and innovations.  These innovations included emphasis on the importance of 'grounding', that is being in strong contact with the ground through feet and legs, and on psychoanalytic such as transference, countertransference, dreams, slips of the tongue and Oedipal issues.  These innovations were developed by Alexander Lowen (December 23, 1910 – October 28, 2008).  A students of the Austrian psychologist Wilhelm Reich.

Dr. Lowen was an eminent American physician and psychoanalyst, he thought that a depressed person is one who is out of touch with reality, especially with his own body, and suggested that to overcome depression, the patient needs to re-activate his dormant life forces by training his mind and body to respond as keenly as possible as a finely tuned instrument.  The idea behind current bioenergetics practice is that blocks to emotional expression and wellness are revealed and expressed in the body as chronic muscle tensions which are often subconscious.  The blocks are treated by combining bio energetically designed physical exercises, affective expressions and palpation of the muscular tensions.  Dr. Lowen was able to formulate these ideas into an effective therapeutic process which advocated a return to the body, and invented a series of remarkably simple, but extremely effective ones that can reawake the depressed person to his own inherent energies and teach him how to express his love, his independence, his uniqueness and his essential realty.

Najeeb Hanoudi

Friday, Nov. 15, 2013


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I have been greatly privileged recently by meeting and had the chance to talk and communicate and became very friendly with a truly remarkable person, Professor Victor Bloom.  Dr. Bloom, has been a teacher and a psychoanalyst for a very long time, a career which has spanned many decades, he is still actively practicing psychoanalysis.  Dr. Bloom has very kindly read this piece and made very useful corrections and additions, it is his as much as it is mine, but its shortcomings and mistakes are mine and my responsibility.