Tag Archives: Conviction

Psychoanalysis As Archaeology in Penny Dreadful

14 May

Dedicated to O…

Freud famously described psychoanalysis as archaeology, the unearthing of meaning layered deep beneath an “expanse of ruins.

In television and movies it’s closer to a detective story.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/28/arts/television/28stan.html

Penny Dreadful Dr Seward & Vanessa Ives

In their first meeting, Vanessa Ives {Eva Green} and Dr.Seward {Patti LuPone} explore the intimate relationship between {potential} patient and psychologist.

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This brilliant scene from Penny Dreadful illustrates how a alienist/psychologist/therapist/psychiatrist excavates the truth through words, gestures/body language, actions, etc. Although it is the first time that Vanessa Ives and Dr.Seward meet, the alienist sets her boundaries. Since it is a preliminary consultation, she has to assess if Vanessa will be her patient {“if I take your case”}. 

Vanessa’s gestures are psychoanalyzed {why are you scratching your hand? Why were you doing that?}. Vanessa replies shyly that she had an itch. Dr.Seward says “no, you didn’t” with conviction. To Dr.Seward, the scratching of the hand is not as it appears; it connotes nervousness/anxiety. Every gesture speaks volumes to the alienist/psychologist/psychiatrist

Vanessa sees Dr.Seward’s observations as a challenge. She says, “this is a challenge. You’ll see if I am worthy of study.” Her astute observations about Dr.Seward’s criteria are accurate. Through prelimiary psychoanalysis, the therapist is trying to assess if Vanessa is worthy of her time, energy and talents. Is she worth having as a patient?

Dr.Seward warns Vanessa, “I am not your friend or your priest or your husband. I am your doctor. You come to me to get better because you are ill- no other reason. Do you understand that?” She sets her professional boundaries clearly. The purpose of therapy is to heal Vanessa of her illness.

Dr.Seward’s compassion shines through despite her tough demeanor. She asks Vanessa, do you understand that you are ill- not bad, not unworthy- just ill? Depression often tricks a person into thinking that they are unworthy. It tells many lies. The therapist must convince the patient of their depressed state instead of internalizing a depressed identity.

She resassures Vanessa that there are “no emotions unwelcome in this room.” Vanessa is encouraged to release her emotions because it is cathartic to do so. Dr.Seward is also communicating to Vanessa that she will not be judged. She is free to speak and express herself as necessary. She also warns her, “if this process doesn’t appeal to you, the door is there.” It almost sounds like she is testing Vanessa or interrogating her at times.

The turning point is when Vanessa takes control of the narrative. She says with a smile, “you don’t want me to leave…because I scratch my hand. You find that telling…those phobias that interest you.” She assures the doctor that she might interest her as a patient. Vanessa notes that Dr.Seward doesn’t need the ten shillings but she does need interesting people to collect. Dr.Seward disagree with her by saying that she takes patients on to cure them. Vanessa asks, what the difference is between collecting and curing?

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This scene is when Dr.Seward really showcases her talents as the skilled alienist. She ends her analsysis with the metaphor of the ouroboros. {The snake eating its tail is a symbol of infinity}. In essence, Dr.Seward is telling Vanessa that she is trapped in an endless cycle of unhappiness as she constantly tortures herself.

12 Monkeys End At The Beginning

The ouroboros from the 12 Monkeys television series from Syfy

Dr. Seward (to Vanessa Ives):

“I already know what’s wrong with you.

You’re unhappy. You’re isolated.

You think you’re the cause of this unhappiness and are unworthy of affection so you’ve few friends.

Recently you lost something you think very important- your lover, your faith, your family, or all three.

You blame yourself for this, so it makes you neurotic and you don’t sleep and don’t eat anything healthy anyway.

You used to take care of your appearance, but you’ve lost interest in that, so you avoid mirrors.

Sunlight bothers you, so you avoid that too, about which you’re guilty because you think it’s unhealthy and even immoral not to like the sun.

You’re not a woman of convention or you wouldn’t be here, but you like to pretend you are so people don’t notice you.

But you sometimes like that as well, and can dress to draw the eye. But then you think the men who look at you are fools, or worse, to be taken in by such an obvious outward show.

So, instead you’re drawn to dark, complicated, impossible men, assuring your own unhappiness and isolation because, after all, you’re happiest alone.

But not even then because you can’t stop thinking about what you’ve lost, again, for which you blame yourself.

So the cycle goes on, the snake eating its own tail.”

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I highly recommend watching Penny Dreadful.

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These scenes convey the brilliant acting of Eva Green, Patti LuPone and the work of the creative teams behind Penny Dreadful. It also highlights the emancipating insight that one can gain from psychotherapy. I have been in psychotherapy and it is one of the best decisions I have made. The internal work is so challenging and often painful but it is worth it in terms of healing, personal development, self-discovery, growth, etc. I highly recommend it.

The key is being ready to open yourself up to examine your memory palace/the locked rooms in your mind and finding the right alienist/psychologist/therapist for you.

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P.s. I plan to do posts about the television shows Penny Dreadful; 12 Monkeys; the alienist; etc.

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Further Research…

Penny DreadfulPenny Dreadful’s Internet Movie Database Page

Eva Green..Eva Green’s Internet Movie Database Page

Patti LuPonePatti LuPone’s Internet Movie Database Page

12 Monkeys12 Monkey’s Internet Movie Database Page

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Peace & Psychoanalytic Love,

V.

Story For Home by Gabriel Byrne…

1 Nov

Gabriel Byrne is one of my favourite people.

Gabriel Byrne Reflective

Even though I have never had the honor of meeting him, he intrigues me in the most beautiful way.

He is a very soulful person who seems to be deeply compassionate, sensitive, introspective and intelligent.

In this short clip, you can feel Gabriel’s conviction in his words and voice.

{His voice is medicine for my soul}.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9eYvTpZTZFU

His suggestion of “imagining Ireland” is a great segue into this post.

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In this short clip, Gabriel discusses his hunger for travel.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQ-rQcJF6Ns

He says that he always had a desire to travel and move.

In his birthplace of Ireland, Gabriel feels that he is always colliding with his past. 

 He feels defined by his past in Dublin.

Whereas in New York he feels that he has a clean slate- a tabula rasa where he is “free to compose his own present.” 

Gabriel lived in Los Angeles for five years but he decided to leave. He feels that when you live in a place without clearly defined seasons, your sense of time becomes distorted. Time passes almost invisibly yet quickly.

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Gabriel decided to move to New York and he lives there presently.

He compares Los Angeles to New York and he focuses on their restless nature.

“It’s a restless city…Los Angeles even more so than New York is a city where people come to…it has to exist for those people who can’t exist in places outside of it.

It exists for people who become in a way…who outgrow or out-dream or out-fantasize their own places

For Gabriel, Los Angeles is a land of paradox.

It offers new beginnings and freedom yet an ambiance of melancholy haunts it.

He notes, “The sense of freedom and light and being able to re-invent oneself is very strong there…but there’s also a sense of melancholy that pervades the place.”

I found the following observation to be the most intriguing. 

“It is a place where people think that if they get successful enough, they are not going to die.”

In essence, Gabriel is using memento mori to analyze people’s avoidance of death. It is almost as if success was used as a passport out of death.

This incisive observation is very Buddhist as Buddha believe in impermanence {i.e. everything dies}.

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One doesn’t need to have a gypsy soul to want to move or travel.

We’ve all dreamed of moving our proverbial roots to far away magical lands.

I know I have…

I believe the term is called wanderlust.

Wanderlust

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Ireland is definitely one of the countries that I long to visit.

Majestic Ireland…

It is the birth place of two of my favourite actors Jonathan Rhys Meyers and of course Gabriel Byrne. They often speak about Ireland’s sublime beauty.

Ireland’s Majestic Northern Lights…

To be honest there are so many places I would love to visit.

Since I was a child I fell in love with Egyptian history and mythology. 

Ancient Egypt has fascinated me and still fascinates me to this day.

Egypt is one place I would love to visit.

Egypt: A Land of Alchemical Beauty

Iceland also seems like a mystical land full of haunting beauty.

The Magical Northern Lights in Iceland…

I would love to experience the northern lights- aurora borealis.

I would love to experience the beauty of Iceland that resonates in the music of Björk and Sigur Rós.

*Please enjoy Sigur Rós – Ágætis Byrjun…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iWoQxk0-f0o   

       

 These days my heart longs to visit the magical lands of Greece.

Greece…A Place of Rich History and Eternal Beauty…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-ZeMwI2pL4

Japan is also another country I definitely want to visit.

I love Japanese culture and I love the humility and resilience of Japanese people.

Other places I would like to visit:

New Zealand…

Waitomo Worm Cave in New Zealand…

Australia…

australia_kangaroo

and Hawaii.

Aloha From Paradise…

I would also love to visit Buddhist temples through-out the world.

buddha

I would really like to explore all the countries of Latin America- especially Cuba.

Che Guevara Grafitti in Habana Cuba

{To be honest, there are too many places I would love to visit but I just mentioned a few to not make this post too long}.

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I think travel enriches one’s life in so many ways.

It open one’s mind and possibly even one’s heart.

Travelling connects us with our shared humanity and our interdependence.

Where would you like to travel to?

Where would you like to move to?

Do you agree with Gabriel?

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For more information…

Gabriel Byrne…http://www.byrneholics.com/ 

Jonathan Rhys Meyers…http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001667/

Björk…http://www.bjork.com

Sigur Róshttp://www.sigur-ros.co.uk 

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travelquote11

Peace & Namaste