Entering into psychoanalysis takes courage, for patients and analysts alike. When it does what it’s supposed to do, it changes one’s relationship to the bigger questions in life—transforming a search for answers into an embrace of the unknown. But such transformation requires a change in how one thinks about knowledge and a growing tolerance for non-knowledge—and it all starts with the psychoanalyst’s willingness to undergo such a conversion. Jamieson Webster ponders these matters, and what they mean for the place of psychoanalysis in modern society, in her latest book, Conversion Disorder: Listening to the Body in Psychoanalysis
(Columbia University Press, 2019). And in our interview, she talks about her personal struggles to find her grounding as a psychoanalyst and how she understands the journey on which she takes her patients. Our conversation, much like her book, is full of intimate and raw revelations about doing psychoanalysis as well as thought-provoking ideas about what it means to do it.
Dr. Jamieson Webster
is a psychoanalyst in New York. She has written for Artforum
, the Guardian
, the New York Times
, and Playboy
. Her books include The Life and Death of Psychoanalysis
(2011) and Stay, Illusion!
(with Simon Critchley, 2013). In her private practice
, she works with children, adolescents, and adults.
Eugenio Duarte, Ph.D. is a psychologist and psychoanalyst practicing in Miami. He treats individuals and couples, with specialties in gender and sexuality, eating and body image problems, and relationship issues. He is also a university psychologist at Florida International University’s Counseling and Psychological Services Center, where he heads the eating disorders service. He is a graduate of the psychoanalytic training program at William Alanson White Institute and former chair of their LGBTQ Study Group. He is also a contributing author to the book Introduction to Contemporary Psychoanalysis: Defining Terms and Building Bridges (Routledge, 2018).