Online therapy, counseling & psychoanalysis

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Groups Work: Things Are Never Only As They Seem

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Charity begins at home.  Group work teaches the elements of a functional community

It may not be necessary to start with the biological evidence that the space between objects, be they cells or planets, is charged with a dynamic that responds or at least carries data between one organism and another.  This “empty” space between objects has primarily been referred to as “nothing.”  Starting with that reputation and continuing right into the present, the study of the subjective has not  been considered a matter for science.  The physical world, the what-you-can-see-and-touch world was the physics of everything.

Common sense, and our sensual perceptions, however, tell us something very different.  At least in our atmosphere there is air between objects and when we are speaking of the space between two people in relationship there is a perpetual transference that exist between the two people and that transferences is at work all the time assessing and re assessing and internally commenting, or subjectively judging the quality and the quantity of the relationship between the two.

Human evolution has complicated these relationships by the, (in geologic time), relatively recent introduction of language; that is, a form of communication that allows for not only the perception of data but the synthesis and the analysis of data.

Language, or “just words” as a recent patient called it, makes use of the space between the two and uses that space as a vehicle to communicate symbols and sounds that are organized in such a way allowing for one person to pretty accurately render a thought and/or an emotion from one to the other.

It is that very space between the two that defines the differences and explores the similarities.  Psychoanalysis is the science that has in the last one-hundred plus years provided the most convincing data that relationships are not only random bumpings into each other.  Instead, psychoanalysis has shown us through clinical research that human interactions are froth with not only what is happening in the moment; but our dynamic interactions contain transferences that may come from not only an earlier event in our lives, but might be handed down in some kind of genetically coded ancestral characteristics.

We are a complicated lot, we humans.

My favorite place to acquire knowledge and understand about my patients is in groups.  I find groups to contain the metaphors for all that we encounter in the rest of our lives.  The circle, the intimate group is a setting in which the negative union is guaranteed a fair hearing.

There is a quality to family life that is evolving in a way that bothers me greatly.  Often I see alienation and disconnections between people and especially in families.  This lack of connection grows into a disrespect because frustrations and negative union are some how not permitted to exist.  It is as if we are homogenizing into a purity of intention that is so fearful of the bacterias that might contaminate, that we are avoiding dynamic differences between us altogether.  We have grown to despise differences in our politics, our society and our families.

As we unconsciously move forward to where we all wear a size nine shoe.  Many of us can not and do not want to keep up with the mis-guided marching forward unconsciously.  We are marginalized and even legislated against.

Let’s get rid of the safety net for the poor and the unfortunate because they are a drag on society.  In the same way we have become use to not calling Mom because she will probably say something that we do not agree with and we do not want to be subjected to an opinion other than our own.  We seem to have become unable to disagree without hating and defending.

We are closing down at home and at work and in our politics.  Differences are seen as dangerous to my greed and growth so they are witnessed with caution.  Eventually the disenfranchised are arrested and punished for the discomfort they cause us.  In families the tendency is to simply drift further away until connections become simply too inconvenient.

The very compassionate and loving feeling of sadness has been trampled into anger, and where there use to be life long attempts to resolve differences, we are seeing major cut-offs in contact and communication.  This further causes the ennui from which our age suffers, but in many cases the new feeling of ennui is also transferred or put onto “The Other”, further complicating resolution, repentance and restitution.

I find that working in groups, we develop more thoughts and  insights into who we are and into the variety of influences that effect or everyday decision making.  I find that empathy and love and compassion and understandings are easier to come come by in a setting where a nonjudgmental atmosphere contributes to intimate investigations that increase our capacity for strength by developing a tolerance for vulnerability…

Group work has been the centerpiece of my psychoanalytic training.  Process and not out-come has been the method through which making the unconscious conscious takes shape.  Group work has also become the centerpiece of my psychoanalytic practice.  When we gather for the explicit purpose of building community we are exposed to our weakness and we are exposed to our strength.  This complete, undistorted view of ourselves, this processing movement toward authenticity provides the new paradigm from which we learn to operate our minds and our bodies in a manner conducive to health, success and happiness…..

Charity still begins at home.



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on-line talk (fall-schedule) & a brief blog on perspective

Well, one more summer, one more whirl-wind ride through the universe and we arrive at, now.

summer 2013

I always feel in sync with the  Jewish Holidays, because the new year always begins in September for me.  Mindfulness in Psychoanalysis will have its doors opened on Tuesday September 10th at 297 Wickenden Street in Providence.  Also individual appointments can also be made for meetings at the Lake house in Charlestown beginning on Thursday September 12th.

I look forward to seeing some people that I have not seen all summer and I look forward to continued work with those folks who have maintained their analysis by phone or by analytic scripting.

The Groups will meet at the same schedule as last year:

Tuesday Group:   September 10 through October 12th    &    November 12th  through December 17th

Wednesday:          September 11 through October 15th    &     November 14th through  December 18th


There will be 12 groups to the fall semester in Providence.  The break in october will be for three weeks and there are a number of options for how to work during those three weeks that I will be in the St. Augustine Office.  Suggestions and opinions will determine how we deal with the three weeks away mid-semester…..I have a capable co-therapy partner is one option I am considering.

Another new item is the method of payment for group.  You can elect to pay in advance for the entire 12 week course, or you can pay as you have in the past at the end of the month or at each session.  If you must use a credit card for pay-in advance then there is a 12% sur-charge for the processing fee.  If you pay in cash or check in advance you may give yourselves a 12% discount.

Of course, talk to me individually about fee negotiating.

If you are new to my practice you may not know that I insist on a negotiated fee.  I feel strongly that this talk about money and the impact that it has on what we can and can not do, is foundational to the analytic relationship.

I hope to see you all very soon.  I am looking forward to studying together some of the patterns that came up over the summer for some folks.  Many of the individual conflicts that we talked about would be great fodder for our collective mill.  As you know about me.  I love the process of analytic groups.  They represent the most basic system of order know to man–the consensus .  We toss our conflicts around and we look around at Other’s tossed-around conflicts and we wonder if order can be made from the chaos.

It can, and it does once the primary resistances are cleared away making room for a new perspective to invade the strong ego.  New perspectives are what is needed to stop the old repetitions.  Often we are so in love with our own beliefs it becomes impossible to tell the difference between a sacred belief and a delusion.

The fear of shame that is at the core of a narcissistic wound, is itself an infant in a pre-verbal stage of development.  Regression, that nasty and hasty rush back to a state of pure sensation is enough to trip up any one of us.  We all have it, we all suffer with it.  It is not a neurosis or a mental condition.  No, it is a source of information.  Information that has lodged itself into our bodies and acts out in a multitude of painful somatic and chaotic behaviors.  When our bodies yell they do so with pain.  But the yelling is in vain if you only quell it, or worst pay no attention to it.  The Pain of a somatic situation is a message that something is wrong with the organism and a “new-perspective” will be needed if the pain of the repetition is to be understood.

New perspectives, (especially those that come from the heart, the instincts, or the soul) are central to our connection with all of sentient life.  They connect us with nature, with the elements of the universe that can have a natural and positive impact on our journey “whirling through space in complete darkness on a spinning ball with no one guiding the ship,” as on patient put it this summer.

PRACTICAL Information:

My hours of Analytic Time are very flexible, my practice is a part of my life, not an addendum or an artificial add-on.  Consequently talking and working with people who are lost in an internal conflict is a challenge that i welcome with great pride and that I perform with a relative high degree of success.  The object of a successful analysis is knowledge.   We need to know  how to get health, happiness and success.  The delusions that get in the way of this work are the resistance that the analysis recognizes.

As Ever & in-joy,

Dr. A. L. Dussault

Mindfulness in Psychoanalysis

(401) 447 5765