Doing Psychoanalysis in Tehran by Gohar Homayounpour
This delightful and deliciously readable short book is packed with wisdom, personal reflections and philosophical musings. Dr. Homayounpour is a psychoanalyst trained in Boston who returned to her "motherland" to practice psychoanalysis in Teheran.
She grapples with the issues of émigrés: questions of separation, absence, return closeness and engulfment. She contemplates what is optimal distance.
She interweaves her personal emotional experiences with her encounters with her Iranian patients.
In fresh and illuminating brushstrokes she paints clinical vignettes that draw contrasts between the embracing Eastern friendliness and the more aloof and distant Western social mores.
Freud is a frequent visitor to her accounts. She remarks that the patients that she sees in Tehran resonate very much with Freud's own patients. Her outlook is heavily flavored with a Lacanian sensibility. She immerses herself in the linguistic soup to discover hidden associations, meanings and tropes.
She touches on themes of love, sexuality, femininity, repression, attachment and separation.
She draws some parallels to her return to Iran and the mythical Odysseus. Her homecoming disturbs the secure and well analyzed identity that she has established in the United States. In Tehran she finds herself:
"...identifying and rediscovering parts of myself that I have worked hard at expelling, and getting rid of: parts I did not want to acknowledge, parts which I believed I had slowly gotten rid of over twenty years.… I was supposed to have subjectivity, to follow my desires, to be comfortable with various parts of my being...."
Her return to Tehran encompasses some torment and anguish:
"Sometimes what tortures us most upon our return home are the ways in which we, and our home, have remained exactly the way we remember them."
"Doing Psychoanalysis in Tehran" is full of such paradoxical intelligence and psychotherapeutic wisdom.
Doing Psychoanalysis in Tehran 2012 MIT Press.