Tuesday, January 08, 2008

The Psychoanalytic Couch

It's time to retire the couch in my office.

The couch I have is soft and cozy, helping to bring the necessary comfort and regression for psychoanalysis. But it is also sturdy for when I do play therapy with kids. The cushions can be used as "warrior shields", "magic carpets" and other such symbolic things - and the sofa, itself, makes a great "fortress", "boat" and other inventions the kids create. But it's looking worn and tattered, so it's time to buy a new one.

But buying a psychoanalytic couch is not an easy thing. A lot of thought has to go into what style, texture, height, width and depth is best. The psychoanalytic couch needs to make a patient feel comfortable not vulnerable, so like Goldilocks, I will be trying out many until I find the one that is "just right".

This is a photo Freud's couch.

I can go to the Analytic Couch Company that specializes in the manufacturing of the proverbial psychoanalytic furniture and get a replica (see below) for around $12,000.00 dollars. Um...no disrespect, but that's waaaaay too expensive.

This couch below has a warm texture and looks sturdy, but I have no idea where it comes from. The person reclining on it is Mexican tenor Rolando Villazón, who is a huge fan of psychoanalysis. Maybe I can contact him and ask where they got the couch for the photo shoot that went along with this New York Times story.

Then there are sofas that are just plain silly.

or too industrial

or too modern

Hmmmm...I'll have to keep searching.



The Lone Beader said...

Thanks for stoppin by today! I like the blue French fry couch! Wonder what that feels like... LOL!

Barbara said...

What a fun post!! $12,000! That's crazy....I wonder how many people have it?

Lynn said...

The blue one is funny. I agree with Lone Beader. It looks like that guy is relaxing on a bed of big blue french fries! Wouldn't it be funny if the playground at McDonald's had one of those? Buy that one and you'll have to start serving food!

Jade said...

I'm all about the bean bag couch. ;-)

Kaliki said...

Uh--Freud's couch makes me feel -kind of- crazy. Maybe all that female hysteria was caused by his couch! Maybe they just couldn't stand his decorating! Dr. Deb--are you a psychoanalyst? The kind you go to every day and the doc sits and listens and nods wisely? Can anybody afford that anymore? thanks

Deb said...

Dear Lone,
That one looks like a toothbrush to me, lol!

Dear Barbara,
I don't know WHO would pay for that, but someone must...they offer it in their catalog!

Dear Lynn,
I can see the french fry theme, but it looks like toothbrush bristles to me!

Dear JAde,
A bean bag couch IS comfy. But an analytic couch needs a bit more than that!

Dear Kaliki,
I don't find Freud's actual set up comfortable, but that just me. The culture and society at the time of Freud was a very repressed one. So that is why there was so much conversion and hysteria back then. We don't like in a world like that now, so that's why we don't see such things. Yes, I'm a certified psychoanalyst. And yes, people come several times a week for treatment. It is affordable, especially if you go through a psychoanalytic university program. Fees are done on a sliding scale. Very affordable and life changing!


Ms.L said...

I like the blue one too.it looks
fun and cozy:)
It must be hard to have to meet the needs of all your clients with
just one piece! Good luck on your search. I bet you'll have lots of fun checking out all the new styles.

Dreaming again said...

My psychologists couch looks really comfy. But she sits on it ...I sit in the arm chair. *grin*

Anonymous said...

Wow. Do you really have a couch like those and do your patients/clients lay down on them? I don't think I could do that!

Bipolar Wellness Writer said...

In an otherwise bad day, I appreciated your comment and your couch saga made me smile!


kaliki said...

Dr. Deb, Would you tell us a little bit about psychoanalysis? What does it try to accomplish? How is it different from what a psychologist does? Don't you get bored? I am absolutely fascinated. How many clients do you have? How long do people continue in analysis?

The Lone Beader said...

You're right. It does look like a toothbrush now that you mention it. I just went to the dentist this week too, so I shoulda thoughta that... But, blue french fries are funnier! LOL!

IntelligentLayPerson said...

Well erm... I looked at that first photo and I thought to myself,"Wow. Her couch looks just like a Freud replica."

har har

I sort of like his couch because it looks like it offers the patient a good variety of positions. Unless you are very tall it looks like you can lay flat on your back. Or if you like to sit up you can sit up and bring your legs out. Or you can lean against the arm and tuck your legs up under you.

I think slip covers make a sofa look cozy, so I would get a slip cover or maybe even two that way you can always have a clean one while the other is at the cleaners.

I am positive your post is entirely tongue in cheek, or I would admit that I am neurotic enough to have googled chaise lounge chairs, then post my results. heh

therapydoc said...

So good, Deb.

janjanmom said...

OOOH!! I like the industrial one.

I can't imagine anyone being comfortable on the "pool noodle" one. YIKES!

My suggestion of the day is a re-upholster on your existing couch.

Raine said...

I suggest you go to a lazyboy store and shop there. They have the best most comfy furniture in the world

STAG said...

hmmm...what raine said.....

Casdok said...

Seems like you are enjoying your research!!!

DrGwenn said...

Leather...cheap, cozy, durable and can allow anyone to get in touch with any inner anything. Our leather couch has survived 16 years, 5 moves, kids...and is THE place where my friends sit when we have our girl chats. Lots of problems have been solved on that couch over the years!

Have fun shopping!

Dr. G

Fallen Angels said...

My T has a very cute, comfy looking couch. However, like Dreaming, she sits there...I prefer the rocker/recliner!

Don't see toothbrush bristles or blue french fries...looks more like a good place to play "Nemo"! Sea anemone anyone?

Heidi said...

I would just luv to have a Therapist period! ..I don't care if it's a couch,chair or floor. ;)

Ian Lidster said...

Just something 'womb-like' would work for me, dear.
I hadn't realized there was something of a science to psychoanalytic couches. When I went for a bit of therapy a number of years ago the psychiatrist said I was free to lie down on the couch if I chose. I suggested it was just too much of a cliche for me at that point.

Disillusioned said...

Bet the kids you see would love the blue one!

Marj aka Thriver said...

I think the blue one looks like you could float in a pool with it.

What a thoughtful process you are involved in. I've had several therapists that I'm convinced never gave a second thought about any of the furniture in their office. This is nice to see!

wolfbaby said...

gotta love the grand search for funiture.. when we went to get anew love seat never thought i'd find one i actually like let alone both the hubs and i would like and htis was just for in home;) use

Kawana Aminata Oliver said...

Some of those couches are great ;-)

Midwife with a Knife said...

Those couches are funny. What is the importance of the couch in psychoanalysis? Like could it just as easily be done in a reasonably comfortable chair? Is the couch just sort of traditional, or does it have a higher purpose?

Tiptoe said...

I think it is great that you are researching this. Personally, I look at these type of details from couches to lighting to decoration, etc. One therapist I had, I could not stand her office because it was so dim. I often felt like I was going to fall asleep in there. I ended up terminating my relationship with her but it wasn't due to the office.

I say whatever couch you choose, keep in mind of pillows.

Health Psych said...

$12000? I'd need a lot of therapy to get over that one :)

I'm more of an armchair person myself. Bet you're having fun researching though.

Mel Avila Alarilla said...

Hi Dr. Deb,
You will be able to get your perfect couch in due time. Just sit back and relax and the couch will appear there before your very eyes. Thanks for the amusing post. God bless. Enjoy the best time of your life in the US.

OHN said...

Cushy. It has to be cushy. Have you ever tried to relax enough to talk on a stiff couch? But then again, if it is too comfortable, you may be locked into one patient for an entire day :)

Dream Writer said...

The blue is cool...the others are too dramatic. I would feel like I am sitting on a throne. :)

Comfort is good to me not the look.

But then again Leather would be nice. Simple, soft, and realistic.

PalmTreeChick said...

It's all about the comfy couch. My T. was in an office that didn't have a couch for a month and I hated it because I like to sort of hide on the couch. She doesn't like that too much. I'd actually like to put a blanket over my face while I talk so I'd actually talk.

Nancy said...

I like the "BLOG" couch. This is the best site for info and comfort.
thanks for allowing us into you office.

alan said...

I like the one from the Times, but am afraid it might be in the same ballpark as that first one! (Of course, I can't bring myself to spend the money to go to the ballpark, either!)

May you find something functional and reasonable without having to make a car payment to get it!


Muser said...

I have three points which come to mind:

1. The reclining style that Freud likes... I've found that some females (and males) find that position uncomfortable... unsafe... vulnerable. What's your experience, Dr.?

2. When I was in grad school (for clinical psychology) I went through therapy myself. My therapist changed HIS couch during our time together and weirdly... I couldn't stand the new couch. I ended up moving to one of the armchairs and spent the rest of our sessions in that chair. I felt ridiculous, but it's funny how when you're really stressed, the smallest thing can throw you.

3. I found MY sofa at a local thrift shop. It looks great, is well-broken in, and I don't care what happens to it. That said, I had to wait a couple months to find something good. And if I'd had the money, I'd have gone for Sears' leather or The Brick.

Good luck with the search!

SeaSpray said...

Reminds me of The three Bears...the quest for the perfect couch. :)

Inviting, firm yet soft.

Do you consider color..as in blue being soothing or go neutral?

I hope you find just the right one at just the right time. :)

Cassandra said...

Dr. Deb-
its cool to see a t put so much thought into a new couch....personally my t switched offices for a short period of time, before moving to a whole new building, and we didnt have 'our' couch for awhile.. and I was miserable.. but the couch is back.. anyway, i got off track but its totally awesome to see u put so much thought into something that really does mean a lot to clients.


Scott said...

Hahahahah! 12 grand for a couch? I think THEY need some therapy for trying to charge that much! Why not just go to a local furniture store and pick up a real couch?

Godwhacker said...

I can just see you going all Gestalt with that blue silly one... "Ok, you are the toothpaste..."


CrackerLilo said...

To me the "silly" couch looked like the head of a giant's toothbrush, snapped off and repurposed.

This is described as an "analyst-style" lounge, but may fall under "too industrial" for you. (My L'Ailee, who loves industrial, loves this catalog and I groan when she takes a look at it.)

I think it's wonderful that you care about your office's atmosphere and your patients' visual and physical comfort.

CrackerLilo said...

PS, to Muser--my therapist has the traditional lounge, but she told me right off that I could sit up or lean on my side (which I consider most comfortable) if I liked.

Dr. Deb, how do you handle that?

Deb said...

Dear Ms. L.,
I do enjoy furniture shopping so it won't feel like a chore.

Dear Dreaming,
Sitting on a chair a couch or the floor is fine for talking!

Dear Traci,
I have a couch that is sorta kinda like that but one that would be in your living room or den. It took me a loooong time to lay on the couch for analysis. Trust was a big issue back then.

Dear Bipolar,
Here's another :)

Dear Kaliki,
Check out my Best of the Blog sidebar. There's a post on what psychoanalysis is and does.

Dear Lone,
I just went to the dentist too. Maybe that's why I see a toothbrush!!!

Dear Intelligent,
I have a couch that is so comfy that I sometimes grab a nap on it during breaks.

Dear Therapydoc,
Well thank you!

Dear Janjan,
What a FANTASTIC idea. I am going to definitley look into that. If it's cost efficient why not?!!

Dear Raine,
SO funny, my current couch IS a Lazyboy!!! Amazing coincidence.

Dear Stag,
My current one is a Lazyboy. Funny, huh?

Dear Casdok,
Why should be a chore?

Dear Dr. G.
Those are the qualities I am looking for!

Dear FAllen,
I see the Sea anemone too.

Dear Heidi,
I hear ya.

Dear Ian,
A couch needs to make a patient feel safe - so too low wouldn't be good, nor rickety or bumpy. So there really is a bit of a science to it all.

Dear Dis,
I would LOVE to play on that couch too.

Dear MArj,
Totally can float in the pool with that blue one. Looks like a noodle pool sofa! And yes, I have been in many a colleagues office for a visit and said to myself. "Eeech, this is so univiting etc." But others do consider the aspect of the office and all that it symbolizes.

Dear Wolf,
I like furntiure shopping. Whenever I get a catalog in the mail, I can drink a cup of tea and gaze at the different lines and

Dear Kawana,
The Freud replica is just ridiculously expensive. I wonder WHO really buys it?

Dear MWAK,
YEs psychoanalysis can be done in a chair, on a couch, on the floor, over the phone....but the treatment style is best when regression and relaxation can take place. Reclining with the therapist out of view helps these experiences to happen.

Dear Tiptoe,
Pillows Yes! I have these velvet pillows big, medium and small ones around the couch and on the chairs. They are so divine and will go with the new couch. Too dim, too bright, too noisy, too smelly, too whatever can make talk therapy a frustrating situation. It really is so important that the environment suit the treatment.

Dear HP,
I really didn't believe that such a thing existed until I saw the website. Then I looked at the price and lol! Silly and unnecessary.

Dear Mel,
I have narrowed my choices - reupholstering the old one, and two nice comfy sofas I saw at a local furtniture store.

Dear OHN,
I recall reclining on a sofa that felt like raw wood, and the pillow was hard as a rock. I said something and the next time I came in things were re-arranged. Better but not quite good enough. I left that analyst for another one!

Dear Dream,
I agree, the chaise are very Cleopatra like. I like a sofa sofa.

Dear Palmtree,
I'd let you hide and cloak yourself as long as we could talk about what all that does for you. Analyze. Explore. Learn. That's the magic of psychoanalysis.

Dear Nancy,
"The Blog Couch". How great!!

Dear Alan,
That one looks very well made and I agree, probably pricey. I'll be hitting the local furntiure store or like JanJanMom suggested, reupoholsterrring the old one.

Dear Muser,
I personally and professionally like a couch that has a surrounding cocooning wquality to it. Something very open would make me too vulnerable. And it's drafty!! And yes, small changes do distrupt the cadence and rhythm of therapy. I agree.

Dear Sea,
Definitely Goldilocks-like! And yes, color and texture are very important considerations.

Dear Cassandra,
I bet your Therapist put thought into the office as well.

Dear Scott,
Isn't that price just ridiculous? HAve two local stores and found two nice sofa sofas. Will buy one of those or reupholster (gotta check prices for that though).

Dear GW,
That blue one really IS fun. I found a couch from Denmark (or it might be Sweden) that is made of connection foam cubes. They can be arranged to make a sofa, a tent, a chair, etc. Now that would really be fun.

Dear Cracker,
I checked out the link and yeah, it's a bit too industrial for me. I would be cold if I reclined on it. It feels so open. But it is funky contemporary cool. I can see it in a Soho loft! Many therapists do alot to make their offices a part of the therapy. And some don't. I guess that's true in all people, right?

And for the questions you and Muser ask - whatever makes you comfortable would be what'd I'd suggest. Again, analysis can be done sitting, standing, on the phone, etc. But if one can feel safe and can recline, it is a very profound experience.

Thanks to all for your fun comments and suggestions.


Big Brother said...

You mean that there is a company that just builds psychoanalytical couches... now there's a niche market I never thought of. Right now I'd probably fall asleep on your couch...so much work so little time.

jumpinginpuddles said...

geez we just sit on a bean bag what about those ?

Scott said...

Hi Dr. Deb. My latest post, called "Cry Wolf and Tread on Me" is about psychology issues. If you get a chance, please check that one out, because I am curious what you think about the tests I took.

PalmTreeChick said...

I'll call ya for an appt. ;) I'll even bring my own blanket to hide under.

Ugh, I hate talking. I'd be a nightmare for you, though I do provide a lot of humor!

Muser said...

Could you please post a link to the sofa made of connection foam cubes? That sounds intriguing both personally and professionally!

And Dr. Deb, if you have a few minutes, I'd appreciate if you could check out my current blog page; it has a link to an earlier blog of mine on which I'd appreciate your input, given your forensic experience. Thanks!

Momo said...

Personally I liked the recliner at my therapist's office. Could sit up while we talked and lay back when needed made me feel in control.

Anonymous said...

The is a company in Cambridge, MA selling Hardwood Analytic Couches in the $1,000 to $2,000 range. You can see an example of their model at Bedworks Analytic Couches.

Digmun said...

Dr. Deb I hope you like this addreshttp://www.analyticcouch.com/soren.htm
Dr. Digmar A. Aguilera

Dr. Deb said...

I have found a great couch perfect for the office. Thanks all for suggestions!

Anonymous said...

I sort of like the "modern" couch. Freud's couch is the best, but the modern couch would work well for me. And the tenor's brown couch...yes, that one would work as well.