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Doing Psychoanalysis in Tehran

Doing Psychoanalysis in Tehran

Gohar Homayounpour
foreword by Abbas Kiarostami
Copyright Date: 2012
Published by: MIT Press
Pages: 176
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  • Book Info
    Doing Psychoanalysis in Tehran
    Book Description:

    Is psychoanalysis possible in the Islamic Republic of Iran? This is the question that Gohar Homayounpour poses to herself, and to us, at the beginning of this memoir of displacement, nostalgia, love, and pain. Twenty years after leaving her country, Homayounpour, an Iranian, Western-trained psychoanalyst, returns to Tehran to establish a psychoanalytic practice. When an American colleague exclaims, "I do not think that Iranians can free-associate!" Homayounpour responds that in her opinion Iranians do nothing but. Iranian culture, she says, revolves around stories. Why wouldn't Freud's methods work, given Iranians' need to talk? Thus begins a fascinating narrative of interlocking stories that resembles--more than a little--a psychoanalytic session. Homayounpour recounts the pleasure and pain of returning to her motherland, her passion for the work of Milan Kundera, her complex relationship with Kundera's Iranian translator (her father), and her own and other Iranians' anxieties of influence and disobedience. Woven throughout the narrative are glimpses of her sometimes frustrating, always candid, sessions with patients. Ms. N, a famous artist, dreams of abandonment and sits in the analyst's chair rather than on the analysand's couch; a young chador-clad woman expresses shame because she has lost her virginity; an eloquently suicidal young man cannot kill himself. As a psychoanalyst, Homayounpour knows that behind every story told is another story that remains untold. Doing Psychoanalysis in Tehran connects the stories, spoken and unspoken, that ordinary Iranians tell about their lives before their hour is up.

    eISBN: 978-0-262-30598-3
    Subjects: History, Psychology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. ix-xiv)
    Abbas Kiarostami

    The first thing that impressed me as I began to read this book was how the world that Gohar Homayounpour explores through the psychoanalytic lens closely resembles what I see through the lens of my camera. I caught myself smiling and then realized that I was thinking about an old Iranian saying: “Jana sokhan az zabane ma migooi.” “Dear, you speak from my heart!”

    The truth is that neither of us considers our world merely a personal space where the slightest discord might bring discontent. Neither is this world of ours a public court of law where we sit in...

  4. Preface: Is Psychoanalysis Possible in the Islamic Republic of Iran?
    (pp. xv-xxviii)
  5. Upon Arriving in Tehran
    (pp. 1-112)

    She isn’t the first patient I have seen in Tehran. Last summer, while vacationing in Iran, I worked with a few patients, and it is certainly not the first time that I find myself waiting for a new one. As it is, I cannot understand where the anguish, the nervousness, and the lack of confidence come from. Does it all have to do with the referral source, an ego ideal of mine? What if I cannot keep the patient? What if she thinks I am too young? What if I cannot find the right words in Farsi—what if I...

  6. A Few Years after Returning to Tehran
    (pp. 113-146)

    Now, as I write these words, months have passed since I first started putting my thoughts into writing, and a few years have passed since my return. I have to confess that I am very far from enjoying the kind of psychic health my supervisor displayed. However, there are moments when I feel very close to him and his assertions about the motherland.

    Some days I work at a clinic where I am exposed to the various kinds of people of my motherland: people from the villages and the city, rich people and people from very low socioeconomic backgrounds, the...