Subjectivity Matters

May 3, 2011

At its center is the belief that subjectivity matters, that regardless of how many millions of circuits science shows are carrying out the work of the brain without our awareness, we still experience a unified sense of self that gives our lives coherence and meaning. In this regard, experts argue, psychoanalysis, which celebrates its hundredth anniversary in America this year, is very much alive.

Is psychoanalysis dead? Have psychodynamic approaches to understanding the human system anything left to contribute? This article from Psychology today begs to differ and describes psychoanalysis as

a profound exploration of human subjectivity—our inner world with all its memories and desires and impulses—and its relation to the external, objective world. And it is much more than a treatment. It’s also a set of theories about the nature of human experience, its depth and complexity. “Analysis is the most elaborate and nuanced view of the mind that we have,” Nobel-winning neuroscientist Eric Kandel recently told a meeting of the American Psychoanalytic Association.


So much of who we are, what we do and how we socialise in the world is unknown to us – and psychodynamic inquiry is a very rich way of exploring how our unconscious influences our personal relationships, family and work lives.  I’ve found it an enormously useful lens through which to consult to organisations (and no, that doesn’t mean I perform ‘therapy’ when I work, it merely means that I bring a curiosity to what is not said, what is not seen, and what is going on under the surface).

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