Tag Archives: Internal

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.

Reflection for today…The Storm Is Inside Of You -Haruki Murakami

3 Nov

Sometimes fate is like a small sandstorm that keeps changing directions. You change direction but the sandstorm chases you. You turn again, but the storm adjusts. Over and over you play this out, like some ominous dance with death just before dawn. Why? Because this storm isn’t something that blew in from far away, something that has nothing to do with you.

This storm is you. Something inside of you.

So all you can do is give in to it, step right inside the storm, closing your eyes and plugging up your ears so the sand doesn’t get in, and walk through it, step by step. There’s no sun there, no moon, no direction, no sense of time. Just fine white sand swirling up into the sky like pulverized bones. That’s the kind of sandstorm you need to imagine.

And you really will have to make it through that violent, metaphysical, symbolic storm. No matter how metaphysical or symbolic it might be, make no mistake about it: it will cut through flesh like a thousand razor blades. People will bleed there, and you will bleed too. Hot, red blood. You’ll catch that blood in your hands, your own blood and the blood of others.

And once the storm is over you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. 

When you come out of the storm you won’t be the same person who walked in.

That’s what this storm’s all about.” 

Haruki Murakami,   Kafka on the Shore 

The Storm Is Something Inside Of You…

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Please enjoy Riders On The Storm By The Doors

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lS-af9Q-zvQ

*Side note: “Riders On The Storm” was the last song recorded by the members of The Doors, according to Ray, as well as Jim´s last recorded song to be released (recorded December 1970 – January 1971 – released in June ´71).”

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For more information…

Haruki Murakami…http://www.murakami.ch/main_6.html 

http://www.murakamibooks.co.uk

The Doors…https://thedoors.com

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Isn’t Haruki Murakami so wise?

Doesn’t he write so beautifully?

Is the storm an emotional, psychological or spiritual storm?

{I think it is all of the above}.

Could a storm be a real mental illness or physical illness?

{I think so- especially with mental illness because it is internal just like Murakami’s metaphorical storm}.

Is life just a pause between each storm?

Or is life the storm itself?

{One could come to that conclusion because life involves constant change}. 

Is the purpose of the storm to make us grow, learn, heal and/or evolve?

Do we need the chaos and suffering of the storm so that we can learn, grow/evolve and heal?

I like that he suggests that even though we will get hurt we will also heal.

We are inherently resilient.

He also stresses the idea of metamorphosis.

Once we come out of the storm we are changed.

Could this be spiritual/emotional/psychological alchemy?

{I would love to hear your thoughts}.

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Peace & Namaste…

Reflection for today…Human Loneliness -Haruki Murakami

10 Apr

“Why do people have to be this lonely?

What’s the point of it all?

Millions of people in this world, all of them yearning, looking to others to satisfy them, yet isolating themselves.

Why?

Was the earth put here just to nourish human loneliness?”  
Haruki Murakami,   

Sputnik Sweetheart 

Loneliness can follow you like a shadow…

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Loneliness can be a source of existential angst, alienation and suffering.

What does loneliness mean to you?

Do you feel lonely?

What do you do when you feel that void inside?

Does being with someone else actually cure or minimize your loneliness?

I tend to feel more alone than lonely {even though I know we are never really alone}.

Being a lone wolf, I am comfortable with solitude.

I find solace, strength and wisdom in it.

{My view of loneliness is more like an upcoming Charles Bukowski reflection}.

I do feel compassion for others that are experiencing loneliness.

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Please enjoy Lonely Soul by UNKLE & Richard Ashcroft

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5lpfWF4owSI

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For more information…

Haruki Murakami…http://www.murakami.ch/main_4.html

UNKLE…http://unkle.com/

Richard Ashcroft…http://richardashcroft.co.uk/

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Peace & Namaste…