A Psychoanalyst’s Tale

(from The Guardian, January 7)
Stephen GroszAfter practising as a psychoanalyst for 25 years, Stephen Grosz has written a book – of the stories his patients learnt to tell on the path to recovery

There’s a lot of the literary in Stephen Grosz. You can tell from the chapter titles of his book, with their familiar fireside whiff of Aesop or Kipling: How Lovesickness Keeps Us From Love; How Anger Can Keep Us From Sadness. Often, too, his limpid, pared-down fables conclude with an observation so elegant and so penetrating that it is almost an aphorism: Better to have lost something than be something someone forgot; Closure is the false hope that we can deaden our living grief.

It’s no accident, of course. The story is at the heart of psychoanalysis, the profession Grosz has practised, with distinction, for 25 years. Sigmund Freud saw this, asserting more than once that his case histories read strangely like novellas rather than bearing the “serious stamp of science”. (read more)