One hundred years ago today, Sigmund Freud arrived in the United States to give the first of five lectures on psychoanalysis to an audience of American professionals and academics at Clark University in Massachusetts.
It was an interesting time in the history of psychoanalysis. As Leon Hoffman writes:
"At the time, most doctors here and in Europe still considered mental illness to be caused by “degeneration” of the brain. They assumed that there was little to be done for it beyond physical treatments like diet, exercise, drugs, rest and massage. But a growing awareness that the mind could influence bodily functions was giving rise to debates about the nature of the unconscious mind."
Being psychoanalytically oriented, I made note of my reactions as I read. I had my first chuckle when Hoffman quotes one of the attendees:
"Emma Goldman, the noted radical, who was also there, remarked, 'Among the array of professors, looking stiff and important in their caps and gowns, Sigmund Freud, in ordinary attire, unassuming, almost shrinking, stood out like a giant among Pygmies.'"
By the end of the article, I had some new pieces of historical information to add to the hopper as I rethink and reconfigure my professional life. I'm definitely at a new place with things, and have wanted to blog a bit on it. In some ways, the events that Hoffman chose to address in his article have brought some of the process through which I'm swirling professionally at the moment more into thoughts and words.
I'm going to think on this for awhile, then come back and blog some more.