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Life of the mind: The importance of the couch

"The ubiquitous cartoons of psychoanalysis in the New Yorker always show a kind of chaise long, the patient's head propped up at one end"

By Anna Blundy   July 2016

Freud's couch ©Robert Huffstutter/Wikimedia Commons

If you go to the Freud Museum in Hampstead, you can see Sigmund Freud’s actual couch, a chaise longue given to him by the grateful patient Madame Benvenisti in 1890-ish. Once alone in the museum, with his collection of antique figures, his desk, books and paintings, I found something painfully moving about that couch, draped with Persian carpets and now empty of anyone’s unconscious. Dora, the Rat Man, Anna O, the Wolf Man (pseudonyms given to his patients) all lay…

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