Overpsychologizing and Vitality: Let’s Talk about Freud’s Cigar

Ioana Pop (Psychotherapist)

Conference: Saturday, October 26th, 16.15 - 18.00

In spite of the title, this is not a workshop on nicotine addiction, but on one of the most frequent and tempting situations that arise in a therapist’s work: overpsychologizing. A trap? An evolutionary phase? Hard to tell, but, keeping optimistic, Ioana prefers the second option. The therapist’s relationship with the discipline he/she practices is about much more than using some theoretical notions; it is about an activity of integration, conceptualization, personalization, translation of these notions. It is also about an activity of internalization, digestion, and reexternalization of these notions. Which is a lot. Much more than patterns and models.

The journey of a therapist’s becoming intertwines moments of evolution and involution, and can be structured in several phases, which Ioana intents to approach in this workshop. Overpsychologizing is one of them. Pastiming? Discounting? Escape from the here and now? Retreat to a comfort zone? Probably a bit of each, and many, many other aspects which Ioana invites the participants to discover together.

This workshop aims that, by the end of it, participants will have more questions than in the beginning. For this, they will try, together with Ioana, to allow themselves to think freely on the subject and to identify each phase they are in from the point of view of their own development.

While trying not to reduce everything to models and theory, the group will still use base concepts of TA (ego states, psychological games, discounting, injunctions, the OK coral). These will help participants to structure the working framework. Overpsychologizing is a concept closely related both to the therapeutic relationship, and to the definition of the idea of a therapist. The workshop will be based on writings by Eric Berne, Margaret Mahler, Elana Leigh, Heather Fowlie, Richard Erskine.

The work method will be brainstorming.

The workshop is addressed to therapists in any stage of their training. One of its objectives will be the understanding of the link between overpsychologizing and vitality. Does overpsychologizing function as a brake or as a catalyst of vitality? Ioana launches the invitation to answer this question together.