From Freud to Facebook: 100 Years of Psychotherapy in America

Freud transplanted a new way of thinking about human development to American soil in 1909. For 50 years the theories of Freud and his followers were embraced both as panacea and as the gold standard for treatment. While many experts today believe psychoanalysis has failed, both as a science and as a treatment, psychoanalytic concepts still penetrate our language and are imbedded in how we think and talk about ourselves. This course will explore how psychoanalysis has become part of popular culture.

New ideas about psychotherapy proliferated as psychoanalysis fell into disfavor. Research about attachment and trauma, the rise of behaviorism and family systems, hypnosis and mindfulness, neuroscience and pharmacology, along with clever uses of the internet are now supported by excellent research. Still, many questions remain about the effectiveness of various forms of psychotherapy, the adequacy of diagnostic systems, connections to pharmacology and the insurance industry.

A psychotherapist whose career spans 50 years will offer a personal perspective about the emotional and ethical challenges of this profession. Four case studies will provide a window into the intimate, intense, sometimes unpredictable world of psychotherapy.

Instructor: Steve Bank

Three Thursdays, April 14, 21, 28; 4:30-6pm
Butterfield Room - $70
Steve Bank
STEVE BANK’s career as a clinical psychologist spans 50 of the first 100 years of psychotherapy in America. He came to Wesleyan as clinical psychologist and adjunct professor during the social turmoil of the 1960’s. He has been in private practice in Middletown for 44 years, long enough to become the therapist of the grandchildren of some of his first patients. He originated an advice column for children called “Talk it Out” at My Weekly Reader Magazine. He has written and directed a sequel to Shakespeare’s Hamlet to teach psychology to high school students, and founded The Art of Listening Program for physicians and nurses. Steve is co-author - with Michael Kahn - of The Sibling Bond, a study of the lifelong connections between brothers and sisters. He has discussed his clinical work on Oprah Winfrey, Phil Donahue, The Today Show, National Public Television, and ABC’s 20/20. His research has been featured in The New York Times, Newsweek, and Psychology Today.