Week 14 Psychoanalytic Treatment
All the other selections have examined how various forms of psychological disorders have been portrayed in literature. In this selection we look at treating such disorders.

There are six recognized models of treating psychological disorders. The psychodynamic approach believes the key to successful treatment involves having the patient gain insight into their unconscious motives, emotions or conflicts. The behavioral approach advocates relearning as the preferred method of correcting past maladaptive behaviors. The humanistic approach believes in the inherent goodness of people and strives to make them more fully-functioning. The cognitive approach attempts to restructure the patient's incorrect thought processes and unrealistic expectations into more realistic thoughts. The biomedical approach advocates the treatment of psychological disorders through chemical or surgical processes; medication is by far the most widely used treatment today. Finally, group therapy allows other afflicted with similar disorders to share real-world solutions and coping mechanisms while sharing the cost of a mental health professional.

Sigmund Freud pioneered psychodynamic treatment with his "talking cure," a derivative of Joseph Breuer's "chimney sweeping." Both of these involve the cathartic method, or a treatment that results in a cleansing or purging of emotions. This is typically accomplished through free association or allowing the patient to talk about whatever is on their mind.

The ultimate goal of psychoanalytic therapy is to provide the patient insight into past, unresolved conflicts from emotionally abrasive experiences during childhood. The patients may exhibit resistance, or an unwillingness to discuss their thoughts and behaviors freely. This is the focus of our first selection this week, Oblomov.

Frequently is psychoanalytic therapy, the patient can experience transference. Positive transference involves projecting the patient's warm feelings for their parents onto the therapist; negative transference involves projecting hostile feelings towards authority figures onto the therapist. The therapist can also suffer from countertransference where they project feelings of affection or hostility toward significant people in their lives onto the patient.

NeoFreudians or post-Freudians have emphasized different aspects of Freud's theories. They believe that current issues the individual is dealing with are sometimes more significant than experiences in childhood. They include the influence of social and interpersonal relationships in the patient's overall mental health. They also believe that the patient's self-concept plays a significant role in their emotional well-being. Our second selection deals with both positive transference and the interpersonal relationship Lushkov develops as The Beggar.

Our first story deals with insight as part of psychoanalysis. It this passage, Ilya Ilyitch is not under psychoanalysis with a therapist but has a flash of insight as to why he is so lethargic and apathetic. This is the type of insight a therapist attempts to extract from a patient and teach the person ways to overcome this motive for their behaviors.
    1. What activities did Ilya Ilyitch wish he had completed that he hadn't even begun?
    2. Ilya states, "others...they hardly sleep at all...they enjoy life, go everywhere, see all there is to see, take an interest in everything....And I? I...am different." What does this tell us about his understanding of his disorder?
    3. What conflicting feelings does Ilya have about his current behaviors and situation?
    4. What insight does Ilya have? Who does he try to blame?
    5. What does Ilya do after this revelation?

Our second story focuses in part on positive transference. Lushkov is a beggar who is helped by a kind act and encouraging words. This emotional support has a profound impact on Lushkov when we meet him again toward the end of the story. This illustrates the profound effect of interpersonal relationships in one's mental health.

  • The Beggar is already included in the download for Oblomov.
  • Answer the following questions. Title these "The Beggar Questions" (worth 5 points each):
    1. What two stories does Lushkov give Skvortsov about his current position in life?
    2. The author writes, "By [Lushkov's] lying, by his treacherous assault upon compassion, the individual had, as it were, defiled the charity which [Skvorstov] liked to give to the poor with no misgivings in his heart." This is Skvorstov's reasoning as to why he gives Lushkov a "merciless scolding." He then takes Lushkov in to give him work once a month. Why would Skvorstov do this?
    3. What task did Skvorstov give Lushkov to do in his home? What job did Skvorstov set up for Lushkov after he moved?
    4. How did Skvorstov feel about himself when he saw Lushkov two years later? Why?
    5. Who did Lushkov credit with turning his life around? Why?

    When you've finished paste your work into an e-mail titled "Week 14 Homework." Then e-mail your work to me at aeaptl@gmail.com.

Week 14 homework is to be completed by 12:00 noon
Monday, June 8
for full credit. It will accepted after that date for half credit.

When e-mailing your work, be sure to paste your work INTO your e-mail.
Do NOT include your work as an attachment.

See you at 3:30 today, June 8 in room 146/101 at LHHS for the final exam!

Copyright ©2009 Clay Sisman