This article, Psychoanalysis in the popular media, was previously published in the Newsletter of the Washington Psychoanalytic Institute.

Advocating for Psychoanalysis in the popular media.

Writing for the print and electronic media is one way to increase public awareness of the benefits of psychoanalysis. But, how does one select a suitable topic? How does one create articles with broad public appeal? How does one effectively pursue publication? What are some of the benefits of these efforts? Each will be addressed in turn.

Selecting a topic with broad public appeal

Select a topic with which you have considerable interest and expertise. Consider one of your adjuvant professional interests or your favorite avocation. An artist might write about art and a policy wonk about politics. Choose a topic with broad, appeal. For example, topics such as, dating, marriage, commitment, divorce, exercise, dieting, parenting, politics, T.V. violence, image and work may sustain general interest.

Since many people find the topic of psychoanalysis very threatening, it is important to introduce analytic understandings very gradually and only after establishing credibility with editors and readers. One way to establish credibility and to build readership is to write broad-based articles that address the everyday psychological aspects of an issue. It is important, to focus on every day life, and not to pathologize.

For example, in writing about dieting and exercise, one might address the psychological benefits of normal dieting and exercise. In the initial articles for a publication, the writer might make only brief mention of dieting and exercise gone awry. Once several articles have been well-received, the writer might gradually shift, to a more analytic focus,and examine the psychodynamics underlying eating-disordered behavior.

There are many psychoanalytic concepts of great interest to the lay person Ð and, describing and elaborating these concepts in lay terms can be very useful. For example, since every behavior can be understood as a compromise formation, the writer might apply this concept as it relates to their topic. That is, in writing about relationships, one might examine why some individuals consistently make choices that lead to misery. A few sentences about how and why analysis might be helpful in such a situation will provide an important public service.

Getting Your Articles Published

You have selected a topic. You have planned a series of articles. How do you get published in the popular media? There are many different strategies that you might pursue. First, consider the readers whom you might like to reach. What publications do they read? Review these publications. How long are the articles? How are they written? Where might your work be incorporated? Do you want to be paid for your efforts, or is the increased visibility, for yourself and the institute, enough compensation? The answers to these questions will dictate the strategy that you select. Here are some possible methods:

    1. Generate a series of articles, and post them on your web site. List your site with the major search engines, and publishers may come to you.
    2. Directly contact organizations that might be interested in your topic, and invite them to link to your web site.
    3. Submit your articles, directly, to the editors of magazines and newspapers that publish similar pieces.

Submit your articles to the newsletters of adjacent professional groups. For example, if you write on eating and exercise, you could offer to write a column in a newsletter written for dieticians or health club members. Parenting columns could be published in a newsletter for parents without partners, and articles on dating could be published in the newsletters of singles clubs.

  1. Participate in listservs where people share your interest, in the topic about which you write. When the topic is addressed, reference your own web site.
  2. Participate on electronic message boards, such as those on ivillage. If you are consistent in your participation, the editors will see your work and you may be invited to play a more formal role.

Your decision as to whether you seek compensation will dictate which strategies you may consider. Many publications can not afford to pay free-lancers. If this is the case, consider bartering, ask for advertisement space for our clinic, in exchange for your copy.

Benefits derived from writing

There are many benefits of writing for the popular media, for both you and for our institute. Your efforts will culminate in public speaking engagements, visibility and referral. You will have helped to demystify psychoanalysis and, you will take the first steps toward familiarizing people to the helpfulness of our profession. This type of exposure ultimately may attract students, candidates and philanthropists who in turn might collaborate with us in our efforts to secure a future for psychoanalysis.

Advocating for Psychoanalysis in the University Setting

Advocating for Psychoanalysis in a Consultative Role

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