Off the Couch we meet psychoanalysts who work in dialysis units, prenatal clinics, corporate board rooms, community centres, humanitarian organisations, and with vineyard workers just to name a few. We hope these conversations expand our awareness of how broadly psychoanalytic thinking extends into our communities. 

Off the Couch
 is produced and hosted by Harvey Schwartz MD, Chair of the IPA in Health Committee, and Steven S. Rolfe MD.
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Latest Episode 156

The Presence of ‘Companioning’ in Psychoanalysis with Robert Grossmark, PhD (New York)

Episode Description:
We begin by considering patient’s non-represented mental states and their manifestation in somatic and motoric registers. Robert describes his understanding and approach to clinically engage those who “barely experience continuity of the self or subjectivity in themselves or others.” He recommends ‘companioning’ with them. This entails not trying to “move the patient out of these regressed areas into greater relatedness …but to welcome these other dimensions and their full expression within the analytic space.” We consider the role of enactive engagements, the non-verbal vs the pre-verbal and ‘radical neutrality’. He presents a case where the patient and analyst shared music, food and not discussed emotional intimacy between them that he felt was vital to enable the patient to emerge as a ‘real person’. We close with speaking of Robert’s professional history of working early on with psychotic individuals and finding that his approach enabled them, often to their surprise, to feel heard. He also describes his attunement to the experience of being an ‘other’ that emerged from his growing up as an ‘other’ – a Jew in London.

Our Guest:
Robert Grossmark, Ph.D., ABPP, is a psychoanalyst in New York City. He works with individuals, groups, and couples. He is on the teaching and supervising faculty at the New York University Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis, The National Institute for the Psychotherapies Program in Adult Psychoanalysis, The National Training Program in Psychoanalysis, National Faculty Member, the Florida Psychoanalytic Center and lectures at other psychoanalytic institutes and clinical psychology training programs nationally and internationally. He is an Associate Editor for Psychoanalytic Dialogues. He is the author of The Unobtrusive Relational Analyst: Explorations in Psychoanalytic Companioning and co-edited The One and the Many: Relational Approaches to Group Psychotherapy and Heterosexual Masculinities: Contemporary Perspectives from Psychoanalytic Gender Theory.

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8 April 2024