I hope you had a great 4th of July! Mine was very restful – I saw the new Pixar movie Inside Out, which was fantastic. A must-see. If you don’t already know the plot, it’s about a young girl named Riley and her emotions – which are all characters onto themselves. It put me in a very introspective mood about feelings and how we emotionally adapt over time. It reminded me of something I read last week that I wanted to share with you.
There was an article in the NY Times Magazine last weekend about psychoanalysis. They talked about the work of a psychoanalyst and researcher named Dr. Andrew Gerber. He was describing the transformation of some of his patients as similar to the chemistry process called “annealing.” I had never heard this term before, but the author of the article, Casey Schwartz, described it in layman’s terms as:
“the act of heating something so that all its molecules dance around wildly and then slowly cooling it back down so that it assumes a new and more stable state.”
I thought this was such an interesting way to describe the process of psychoanalysis and therapy in general. I’ve never done psychoanalysis, but I have done therapy. And sometimes you do go through this process whereby you think it’s not working at all and you’re vacillating between extreme feelings about the whole experience and your own emotions, but then somehow, at some point, you realize a big shift has taken place. It’s somewhat hard to describe without it sounding vague and nebulous, but it’s basically when you feel like you’ve become a new version of yourself after a certain period of internal turmoil and transition.
Therapy aside, I think there are several time periods in one’s life that act as “annealing” processes, if you will. When you’ve reached your 30s, you’ve probably gone through at least a few of them. For me, puberty, college, and the several years haze after college when I emerged into the real world were those periods for me.
How many times in our lifetime do you think we go through a process of emotional re-assembly?