Online therapy, counseling & psychoanalysis

Moving towards health, success and well-being

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Mindfulness in Psychoanalysis is a community-based practice that emphasizes the value of intimacy and conversation. Group gatherings and individual conversations are the backbone of the endeavor, With a nod to professional ethics and the importance of confidentially, what mindfulness has to offer is a safe place to evaluate and reevaluate the feelings involved in the decisions we make all our lives.

Analysis is not an aspect of psychology. Although psychology, like philosophy and biology and medicine, is all important dimensions to building and sustaining relationships, the centerpiece of psychoanalysis is the respect for the transference and counter-transferences that take place from the first encounter.

In modern psychoanalysis, we aim for authentic encounters, from which we can research the data–the words and the collection of words used to describe and understand each other. The conversation is the object of study.

Our methods are not traditional diagnosis like would be found in the Diagnostic Manuals of Mental Health. We aim to discover what developmental sequences might be uncovered by listening for patterns in the free-association. The models discovered often are a metaphor for the resistances to better health that are unconsciously preventing the patient from, euphemistically, not being able to get out of his own way.

As a trained practitioner of psychoanalysis, my job is to facilitate conversation based on the contact that the client makes with his or her counselor. Emotional communication is primarily a method of response to the patient that involves acknowledging the patients feeling and mood, but NOT confronting that defense, rather mildly acknowledging the defense in a way that might get the patient interested in the new information.


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Psychoanalysis: breath & balance

This is important stuff.

Maybe, as important as anything can be moving us toward self guided health care, and ever evolving toward emotional maturity. The mental gymnastics that the ego or conscious mind puts us through is counter-stabilized  with breath and balance.

The instincts do not remain in the shadow of the object when the body is consulted for sensations. But that really only works from the position of stillness. Getting to still point with mantra and breath is a fundamental aspect of getting to health. Of course, life also happens between sessions of any practice. It is the balance we learn before hand that steadies us in a moment of body-pain. Sometime our own body pain, or even the body pain of others we live with can activate the lack of balance (mental, emotional & physical).

The return of the repressed and the return of the repetition compulsion activates and ignites fear which then takes our breath out of balance and everything feels wrong.

With the crown of your head high, your shoulders relaxed and a deep breath filling all of your lungs, slowly let out more breath than you took in. Breath like you are conducting the figure 8.


Why?  Because a well analyzed life includes a connection with the body-unconscious where our ancestry, experiences and memories are stored like in a freezer until some heat, some return of the repressed ignites the muscles, cells, bones of sensation and demands of us that we pay attention.  The needle on the gage reads low energy.  Going too much further without replenishing and we risk running out of gas only half way to our destination.


Below is an example of a meditation–it is constructed of non-mentated gestures and lines that I filled in with color and mood.  Well-being is a state of no effort because it takes as its starting point a moment of stillness. Therefore,  a better chance of leading to clarity than if we attempt to move through chaos….contour-and-gesture-1

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Thoughts on Christopher Bollas’s, “Generational Consciousness”*

Version 2

My grandmother left Canada with hope. The potato famine and poverty of Canadian farming pushed them south at the end of the 19th century. Her generation came here with opportunities to cultivate, and with full knowledge that she was leaving the previous generation behind, a loss taken to ensure survival. There must have been great strength garnered from the courage it took to migrate, leaving family, home, and all that is familiar behind for better prospects.

They arrived in America at a time of great innovation and rapid advances. There were no airplanes, no cars, electricity was a new technology when they got here in the late 1800’s by their new millennium

My parents, on the other hand, arrived to their 20’s and, saw the failure of that generation to be able to sustain the progress. They arrived to their generational subculture at a world of a Great Depression, soup lines, stock market crash and a most devastating world war, culminating by the dropping of two atomic bombs.

My folks inherited the failed dreams of their immediate past. I was born in a time of prosperity. Though my family was poor, the world felt promising. We were the generation that could have its cake and eat it too. We inherited the hope of peace, but just as your generation arrived in the world, our radical peace movement and hippie communes failed to sustain itself, and the cycle started over again where like my mother you were born into a generational failed dream. Generations are defining,  we shape the generation and the generation shapes us.  We bring individual goals and ambitions to the world but in addition to our individual view of our times, the times that we live in have a kind of sociological perspective that become a part of our psychic experience.

Bollas points out that it is not until young people are in their 20’s that they begin to identify with the cultural norms of their generation. At about this age, children begin to see themselves as belonging to the future generation. They are accomplishing a transition between where they came from and where they are going in the outside world and in the subjective world of the self.
Christopher Bollas says this:  “The sense of isolation can be severe, but solace may be found through recognizing that he or she is part of a mass sub-culture, a new adolescent subculture forming out of the abyss between generations.” When you are exit-ing your family of origin; and at the same time emerging into an adult, the process is almost entirely an unconscious one.  The experience is as much about loss as it is about forward movement.

The norms of the New Generation must be incorporated or the child becoming an adult fails the transition process and begins to doubt their ability to become capable participants in the New World order.  When the anxiety to separate from one generation is difficult to tolerate, the individuation of the child suffers. This process then settles itself into the consciousness as a lack of confidence and low self-esteem.

The massive difference between generations is not perceived except in retrospect. In hindsight we radically recognize the difference between the 1950s and the 1960s; yet, 1958 at the time did not look all that different from 1962.  Likewise, if you were born in the 60’s you have a memory of your parents generation and a sense of belonging and remembering first- hand the 70’s and the 80’s. The future decades all seem about the same save for a few technological advances that may stand out.

Christopher Bollas seems to be saying that there is a collective consciousness that assigns us to the generation that we belong too.  If a child assigns himself to the wrong (previous) generation because of fear of separation, success in the new generation becomes more difficult.

To this very difficult but natural set of complexes, we can add, in some cases; the generation that you came from makes it difficult for the transition to run smoothly. A consciousness of differences between generational norms allows a parent to assist rather than hamper the transitional process.  On the other hand, jealousy of youth, or fear of separating in the parent can retard the child’s development. The child may fear reprisal and abandonment from the parent’s generation and then attempts to remain the child of the previous generation rather than an adult in his or her own generation.

The consequences of not moving forward, of not letting go, obscure the possibilities of the future, and security and a false sense of safety are sought to mitigate the affects of fear and loneliness.

Christopher Bollas has written a bold new sociological take on the psychoanalytic process of separation and individuation.  His essay goes on to describe, in beautifully written language, the multitude of facts, fictions and symbols that enter the consciousness of a human during this delicate, but at time violent attempt to become a self….

From readings in, On Being a Character, 1992, “Generational Consciousness”.

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poetry in motion

Leonard Cohen has a way of summing things up for me.  Not much more to be said about a life well lived, albeit, very heavy at times; and often, more mindless than mindful.

First there was the meditation involved with creating the template–totally mindless.  I was absorbed in the quality of the feel, as the pen and ink dug into the paper and at times seems to effortlessly glide over the page so that a single stroke felt like it went clear across the pad and down the center to the very bottom of the page.

Then there were those comments when what to write went blank.  It went blank for months.  Gibberish. Then one day the journal was open to this unfinished page and Cohen’s meditation looked like it would barely fit on the page but it did. I thought it might sit well as an edited image.  It comes together as text-and-image and combines a number of moods while fulfilling its mission to be published.

Serenity is the outcome, but it seems too far away when I am carrying a grand-piano down a mountain of theory.  I am sitting with a young girl, fair and beautiful as she crawls to the couch.  I almost do not want to let her go there; but I do, and she emerges walking, maybe a half-inch taller than when she arrived; but how much growth can we really expect in an hour.  I hope she waters a few of the seeds awakened while we sat by the sea, chatting and untangling backlashes from yesterday’s fishing lines.  The wind seems to blow westerly in every season, and to every season we attach a new moment adding them up with an abacus left dusty besides the slide-rule, made of wood and brass. But here, I am the instrument of research.

Her life opened like a book on our laps.  I don’t count the way I use to. I don’t count on things and other objects–no, I think on myself now. And, I  thank myself graciously for the compassionate care that I often find capable of giving to myself.

I settle into that place of relative silence and slowly she enters, tentative at first, willing, ambivalent and scared.  But, she is strong and she does not want to let on that she is so vulnerable that she does not think she can take one more step.  Exhaustion and fear and insomnia and disease and helplessness and hopelessness will devour her if she takes even one more step toward life.  The piano is too heavy to carry.

She is addicted to the tune, that is how I know she will come back.
poetry in motion in brown

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memories and losses

Canada has been much on my mind lately—i am craving a trip to my homeland

writing with light

a laurentian stream

Scenes of people in canoes rushing down a river remind me of the Hudson Bay Trappers…I love the memories of Canada.  I love the delicious French Canadian foods and the moods and the wonderful Catholicism which the ancestors imparted to me in the early years of my life.  I was a 2nd generation Canadian boy and at the end of my youth, my culture that I had embraced and loved had died in America.  I felt abandoned by my own life.  As I look at the canoe piloting down a cold river in northern Canada, I remember my good grandmother and her stories of life in the Laurentian Mountains in a small village.  The bears would come out of the great north woods.  The bears would rampage a village and they would have to send troops out into the woods to kill the bear because once they became use to…

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Q & A on borderline issue

Albert, your post today really resonates with me and puts something into words that I have been seaching for – that is, seeing the person as caught in the narcissistic phase of development, which comes from an inability to understand their pre-verbal drives, and who sees conflicts as ‘out there’ rather than ‘in here’, and so is looking outside of itself for answers, because he can not decipher the messages that are coming to him internally. You say that the messages that come internally are experienced as foreign and therefore the tendency is to act on the outside world rather than on the internal conflict that is perpetual. Is this due to the lack of holding, and psychological containing as an infant by the care-giver, who could not help the infant decipher the ‘inside’ messages and so they remain ‘foreign and inaccessible?

How do you help with this developmental/pre-verbal conflict that has not had resolution? I ask this because I recognise this in myself, the seeking of approval from others, the defining of myself through my connection or communication with others, and now , slowly, through analysis and art-making, starting to find the core ‘me’ inside myself, that grounds me in my being, rather than through being mirrorred by others.

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The Problem with our problem is that we think we should not have problems.

The Problem with our problem is that we think we should not have problems….other than that I think most of us do fine with our problems.

We awaken each day with one of two goals in mind–I am here to make it through this day and I am here on a mission to find and sustain joy to the best of my ability.  I will run into problems that will attempt to de-rail me and I will run into problems that do de-rail me; but I want to remain deliberate about my belief that joy is in me waiting to be employed by my decisions to aim for well-being.

Or, we awaken a fuck’en miserable mess, put the covers back over our heads and lament that it is cold, it is too early, it is dark or what ever the lamentation of the day happens to be.  We think we are obligated to do something that we hate and we are victimized by our inability to console ourselves and we proceed to be unhappy (out-loud) and hope that we can snag at least one somebody to drag into the gutter with us.  Misery does love company.

That about sums up the two positions on waking up.  Now, let’s examine awakening for a moment.

Hoping that you as reader are interested in the former, I want to spell out a few guide-posts for you to keep in mind while you begin your meanderings through the day.  First, there are only two states that you need to be aware of:  1)  I feel good, and 2)  I feel awful.  Each of these are paradigms that exist in the mind and are there fully formed waiting to be employed.  If you are aware that you are in a negative state, say anywhere from 0 to 90 on an applause meter, you must deliberately decide that you want to bring that number up somewhere between 90 and 180 on the applause meter.  The closer you get to 180 degrees the more likely you will be chosen as Queen for a Day.

The glimpse that we have a positive state within, ready made and ready for us to use, is the perception that is necessary to shift from under-the-covers to into-the-light-of-day.  All you need to know is that you want out of the negative state and some aspect of the positive side of life will appear.  I have a friend who calls these apparitions angels.  But, regardless of what we call them, we recognize it by its benign, comfortable and casual nature.  In this state nothing is right or wrong, perceptions are about effectiveness not judgement.

So, we need awareness–subjective awareness.  Next, we need a glimpse of the better feeling state, and after that we need to make a deliberate decision that that positive state is the state that we want to be in.  It is the state from which we want to watch our problems develop, emerge, and fade.  Problems follow the course of life, they are a seeds that grows, have a life, flowers and begins to wither and eventually decay.  Problems are no better at life or no worst at life than we are.  Problems have a life of their own and we need to respect that problems will arrive and depart like the tides, and the morning sun.  Problems come and go they have a life cycle. There is nothing unusual or abnormal about a problem.

Do not be afraid of a problem, its purpose is to educate you about your character and to give you clues about the nature of your drives.  So, give yourselves a loud round of applause and watch that meeter climb and surpass even your most unexpected dreams.


The choice that is ours to make has to do with nudging the negative numbers below 90 degrees into the positive numbers on the other side of the radius. We get connected with our more perfect self by deliberately wanting to be rid of what ever the misery is.  We get connected by being persistent in our yearnings and in believing that allowing ourselves to let in the good will eventually over-power and eradicate the negative. We know there is a positive state in the mind someplace.  You have to find it.  It shows itself as a smile over a thought, or a scent that has you recalling a day in the third grade, or perhaps you hear a song that recalls a man you loved or a pet you lost.  The positive state is not loud or even jubilant; it is a murmur, a whisper, a breeze.  It can be anything as long as it reminds you of something pleasant.