• On Psychotherapy as an Ethical Discipline and its Relation with Christianity
    A consideration of psychotherapy as an ethical discipline and how this impacts the issue of professional regulation.
  • On “Classical Analysis”
    The classical analysts got one thing right: you cannot “cure” people by merely sympathising with them on their misfortune. Beware pity & Mitleid.  But they got one thing wrong: you cannot “cure” people if you withdraw from them emotionally. The therapist has to be an incitement to them to achieve a higher state of harmony…
  • Nietzsche on Shame
    Shame exists wherever there is a “mystery”; but this is a religious concept, which in the older times of human culture had a wide extent. … Sexual relations, for example, which as a privilege and adyton [this was traditionally the most sacred place within a Greek temple, reserved for the priests and priestesses] for adults…
  • Goethe, on life
    Das Leben sei so hübsch, daß man völlig für gleichgültig achten könne, wem man es zu verdanken habe: denn es schriebe sich doch zuletzt von Gott her, vor welchem wir alle gleich wären. Life seemed to me so beautiful that I thought one should regard it as completely a matter of indifference to whom one…
  • Freud quotes – how one becomes a psychoanalyst
    “When I am asked how one can become a psychoanalyst, I answer, through the study of one’s own dreams.” (DP 76)
  • What is Psychoanalytic Therapy? – Part 11: Beware of Labels
    Psychoanalytic therapy and CBT are the two most important traditions within psychotherapy. But even here, because labels can be so misleading in this field, in trying to draw distinctions within it, considerable caution is required. Contemporary CBT is more nuanced than old-style behaviourist psychology, and over time it has also, in spite of itself, come…
  • What is Psychoanalytic Therapy? – Part 10: Psychoanalytic Therapy & CBT
    What psychoanalytic therapy and all these other related therapies do need to be distinguished from however are those forms of psychotherapy and counselling that focus less on treating the person as a whole, and on the conflicts between his emotions within him, and more on his different symptoms in isolation, with the aim of treating…
  • What is Psychoanalytic Therapy? – Part 9: Psychotherapy & The Question of Meaning
    All of us, whether we are therapy patients or not, have to resolve the question of what is the meaning we are going to give to each day of our lives, and to the rest of our lives. We have to resolve it even if we do so by trying to evade it and just…
  • What is Psychoanalytic Therapy? – Part 8: The Aim of Psychoanalytic Therapy
    The various mechanisms of unconscious conflicts and the ways they operate and stay concealed have never been better described and illuminated by anyone than they are by Freud. We have not been as good as he was at this and we still rely on his lucid descriptions of unconscious processes for making sense of what…
  • What is Psychoanalytic Therapy? – Part 7: The Notion of “The True Self”
    Apart from displacement, among the other important themes that Nietzsche introduces into modern thought that have become indispensable to psychotherapy is the emphasis on the need to give shape to one’s own life, rather than relying on values inherited from religion and traditional morality to give this to us. This ethical ideal of self-formation is…
  • What is Psychoanalytic Therapy? – Part 6: The Theory of Displacement
    Freud’s development of psychoanalysis did not happen in a vacuum. He drew for inspiration on a wide range of predecessors in 19th century medicine, psychology and philosophy, as well as the great dramatists, poets and novelists of the past. As he himself was the first to acknowledge, the idea of the unconscious mind, the idea…
  • What is Psychoanalytic Therapy? – Part 5: Psychodynamics
    The second distinguishing characteristic of psychoanalytic therapy, after its rooting of the symptoms of emotional distress in the history of our personal lives, is that it considers the human mind as a place of conflicts between different wishes and drives, and it treats the symptoms of emotional suffering as expressions of these underlying conflicts. Life…
  • What is Psychoanalytic Therapy? – Part 4: Psychoanalysis
    On the relation between Psychoanalysis and Psychoanalytic Therapy
  • What is Psychoanalytic Therapy? – Part 3: Freud
    All modern psychotherapy derives ultimately from the work of Sigmund Freud.
  • What is Psychoanalytic Therapy? – Part 2: Psychotherapy and Counselling
    There is unnecessary confusion between the terms psychotherapy and counselling.
  • What is Psychoanalytic Therapy? – Part 1: A Confusion of Terms
    The next 11 posts comprise an extended essay on psychoanalytic therapy and its place in the contemporary psychotherapy world.
  • On Regulation for The Psychotherapies in Ireland
    I submitted the following comments on the question of regulation for the psychotherapies in Ireland to CORU, the national regulative authority, on Saturday, 14th November 2020. This post contains minor revisions and corrections made to the text on Monday, 23rd November 2020.
  • Nietzsche quotes: Parents and Children
    Which child would not have reason to weep over its parents? – Thus Spake Zarathustra, part I, Of child and marriage.
  • Goethe and Psychoanalysis
    Psychoanalysis as an intellectual discipline is unthinkable without the innovative precedents set by the great German poet and writer Johann Wolfgang Goethe (1749-1832). Freud quotes Goethe throughout his writing probably more than he does any other predecessor. Freud tells us in his Autobiography (1925) that it was the inspiration of listening to a reading of…
  • Freud quotes: Other People
    The pain that arises from our relations with other people we feel perhaps more keenly than that from any other source. We are prone to see it as a relatively superfluous addition to them, although it is no less fatally inescapable than the pain from other origins.  – Freud, Civilization and Its Discontents (Das Unbehagen…
  • Brief Reflections: On Opposites
    Opposites are always closer to each other than either is to the mid-point between them.
  • Brief Reflections: On Psychology as Moral Analysis
    To describe a mind is to describe the configuration of intentions that constitute it. The characteristic of the mental, as Franz Brentano (at one time, Freud’s teacher in philosophy) pointed out, is intentionality. The mind is defined by its purposes and aims. At the same time, to describe the intentions of the mind is to…
  • Brief Reflections: On Truth and Character
    Only the strong can forgive. Forgiveness resides in an attitude, not in a phrase. We have forgotten that truth resides not in what is said but in the quality of the man or woman who speaks. Truth is an attribute of a man or a woman, not of the language they use.  In the same way,…
  • Marcus Bowman PhD
    I am a psychotherapist and counsellor working in Cork, Ireland. You can reach me by phone or text at 087 654 5327, or by email at marcusbowmanphd@gmail.com. You can find out more by clicking on the link to the About Me page above.
  • Psychotherapy in The Age of Anxiety
    We often hear our times described as an age of anxiety.  Perhaps it seems a little strange that this should be so. After all it is hard to believe that we really have more reasons to be anxious than did the generations that lived before us. By the fairly comfortable standards most of us enjoy…