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Gerald, M. (2011). The Psychoanalytic Office: Past, Present, and Future. Psychoanal. Psychol., 28(3):435-445.

(2011). Psychoanalytic Psychology, 28(3):435-445


The Psychoanalytic Office: Past, Present, and Future

Mark Gerald, Ph.D.

The experience of photographing psychoanalysts in their offices has focused attention on the meaning that our work spaces have for us, in our history, presently and speculations about the future. Making the analyst in the analytic environment the subject of study, contextualizes our being and reveals much about the importance of our offices. The fifty-five analysts photographed (as part of an on-going project) were selected to approximate a representative sample of the diversity of practicing psychoanalysts in the early twenty-first century. They were photographed in their offices in the United States, Mexico, South America and Europe and generally welcomed the opportunity to be seen regardless of theoretical orientation. From Sigmund Freud's first psychoanalytic office at Berggasse 19 in Vienna, we have carried forward traditions of filling our surroundings with objects, and of maintaining a precarious hold on the permanence of space. The Jungian term, temenos, indicating a secure continuous containment as applied to our offices, is under siege. Technological advances and the frantic pace of modern life with increasing telephone and more recently Skype sessions, combine to provide opportunities, challenge assumptions and even question the necessity of having a psychoanalytic office. Finding a space where we can belong, with our belongings, may define and predict our future existence.

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