New Beginnings Therapy

Freud and COVID-19 in conversation

I am proposing a Covid-19 safety announcement in creating a conversation in therapeutic terms on how Freud would respond to this extraordinary situation, hence COVID – 19 in conversation with Freud -  an interpretation. Also, I am suggesting that it would be merited to think at COVID -19 as something invisible, a minefield if you may and yet, also as news to a consciousness that would direct civil and social, normative behaviour, recreating social norms accessible to all. There are taboo (also Freud favourite word) subjects all around and one such example is what keeps a nation safe and the truth is that such topics are never topics of public conversation hence absolutely never visible nor viable for discussion. What is it recognised as main threat by the UK? And what level? Is it COVID- 19 or is that something else entirely different? In everyone’s (current) opinion, to some extent mine included, is that a health system for any country, organisation and an individual a defence system is one answer– but that is only what is visible and in many a ways a very selfish way of considering a situation – it’s similar in describing a society that would agree that a first line of defence can be sacrificed, whereas some of us/ segments of population are going to take the brunt of whatever we are all facing. And in truth that had been the case for many decades and the NHS had been overwhelmed and resilient for as long as I know it. But never before until now such recognitions had become apparent and clear. Lives of many who are fighting for lives of all is now a tangible recognition. In Maslow’s humanistic approach that would be survival needs – most basic needs – shelter/home, exercise, health service and food and enjoyment within the confines of your home – that is what can be described as basic need/s but that is only to one level of understanding. Structure is what forms and contains basic needs and needs are and do go beyond basic need of survival. There are many individuals and situations to whom such needs are being met including all that is needed at specific times - environment can be defined and conceptualised in various ways. But many others, not so much so/ Inside/outside have all different meanings. But a psychological Humanistic approach is not what is going to be discussed here, neither a person centred approach nor a solely cognitive behavioural understanding. It is opted by this article that would be best to consider Freud’s view and engage a conversation with current COVID-19 situation.

What is it that we are fighting – or keeping away? And for how long? Is it an understanding on how we are all affecting/responsible for each other, affecting self and the world all around or at large? Is it COVID - 19.Or all? My political understanding is limited, but I do suggest a return to or formulating a new understanding as to what it means to be human when faced with adversity and perhaps understanding all potential responses to that may prove more enlightening in answering our quest.

Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never -- in nothing, great or small, large or petty -- never give in, except to convictions of honour and good sense” (Churchill, W.)

But that is not Freud, that is Churchill and yes, it may feel that to today’s news humanity is at war – but before we positively establish that,– may we all please step back from such news and ask ourselves as to what we are actually faced with? Are we fighting Democracy? Are we fighting Hysteria? Are we fighting a system that it has proven vulnerable to convictions of faith and fate? Are we fighting a Virus? Of what provenance? Nature? Truly, Freud would suggest that we are fighting our long lost desire to live.

Returning to Churchill’s quote perhaps it is too early and too soon to comment on that and I am not a politician so I prefer to return to a historical account of what makes most sense to me: Science: Psychology, Neuropsychology, Sociological and Anthropological studies and all inter and intrapsychic processes yet to be resolved by and in finding a cure to our civilisation’s (temporality and locality acknowledged) discontents. Or is it the pleasure/life and death in principle we are fighting against or with by our side? Not so sure we can answer that except Freud might have directed us to analyse initial responses as being primitive responses, hence isolation, stockpiling etc. in number of beds and ventilators counted for each individual region of the Northern Hemisphere, which at a later date found a different response in creating a temporary structure, hospital beds, the society organising as a whole and in unison responding to needs of various types and considerations of different segments of population, but more importantly a growing understanding of what is needed most. Perhaps the most important understanding in all is that of a process of development and evolvement from basic needs to address other and new needs – across the world and within each and every part of the world.

Convictions of honour and good sense…it’s good too, but only if based on acknowledging that it is one for all and one that risks it all for all of us. I should guess that to the power of or either Freud or COVID – 19 – we are all vulnerable but some of us may indicate that there is no time to think* but act*.

So Freud, may have many a question in rethinking selfless acts and their origin, to my mind and what comes to mind is fearless and bravery acts in standing up for convictions no matter what and that translates in good sense, whether or not that can be read simultaneously, I am uncertain. 

COVID19 Safety Announcement