Buenos Aires, the Argentine capital known for its tango bars, has another claim to fame: it may well be the world’s capital of psychoanalysis.
For every 120 inhabitants in this bustling metropolis, a psychologist is on hand to help struggling individuals make it through tough times — or simply lend an attentive ear to accounts of life’s daily travails.
“We portenos like to talk more than we like to listen,” Marcelo Peluffo, one such disciple of Sigmund Freud and Jacques Marie Emilie Lacan told AFP referring to residents of this city of three million. “That must be why someone who works to listen is successful.”
Andres Rascovsky, president of the Argentine Psychoanalytic Association (APA), one of the World’s largest with 1,200 members, attributes the penchant for such services to immigrant nostalgia similar to that expressed on the dance floor.
“Psychoanalysis is so much a part of Buenos Aires because the city makes you suffer,” the 61-year-old said in an interview in his practice — near a neighborhood dubbed “Villa Freud” due to its abundance of analysts like him.
The popularity of therapy is also reflected by what sells well on television and in the city’s theaters where 10 shows currently deal with the subject.
“The public could relate to a series called ‘In Therapy,’ which just ended,” said Rascovsky, whose office walls are adorned with deer antlers, seen as symbols of wisdom and connections to the spiritual world.
On stage, productions that have drawn full houses include “Knock, Knock” — a piece about six people who suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder — and the comedy “The Last Session of Freud.” The musical “Almost Normal” about a child’s death and its impact on the family has also been a hit.
“These productions do very well because people identify with something you don’t see every day but which is latent in all of us,” Florencia Otero, 22, one of the stars of “Almost Normal” told AFP as her colleagues agreed in unison.
Therapy can also be a useful tool for actors, chimes in Mariano Chiesa.
“My teacher tells me, the more you know about yourself the better an actor you’ll be,” Chiesa said.
Jealousy, desire and infidelity are the key themes of the bestselling book “Encounters” by psychologist Gabriel Rolon that topped sales in Buenos Aires bookstores. Rolon has popularized psychoanalysis with other chart-topping works such as “The Sufferers” and “Couch Stories.”
Country-wide, some 50,000 psychologists compete for business, which amounts to an average of one practitioner for every 690 residents — three times more than in the United States. Those wanting to pursue the profession can choose from 200 schools in Buenos Aires alone.
To illustrate how mainstream therapy sessions have become, Rascovsky — whose father Arnaldo was a pioneer of psychoanalysis — tells an anecdote about a Mexican couple in town for a conference who were astonished when a taxi driver asked them who had been elected APA president.
Indeed, it is difficult to find people who have not sought the services of a therapist, with even those with modest salaries can get sessions partially reimbursed by social security health plans.
Vera Czmerinski, a 40-year-old actress and journalist, told AFP she has spent two decades trying to find herself in sessions.
“I use therapy to know how far I can go without getting hurt by life,” she said.
Fox News cuts into Trump’s Turning Point USA speech after he starts rambling about handshakes
Fox News on Tuesday briefly interrupted a speech being delivered by President Donald Trump at a Turning Point USA summit.
During his speech, Trump started talking about delivering a commencement address at the Air Force Academy.
"They said, sir, would you like to shake the hands of all the cadets? I said how many other? They said 1,100. I said yeah, that sounds okay,” Trump remarked.
“Do other presidents do it? Yes, they do. Do all of them? What they didn’t say is they start, then they peter out. That sun was beaming down, and if some of these guys are great athletes — some of the women, they had some women in the class, their hands were very strong, okay.”
Hundreds of orgs, political and religious leaders demand Pompeo abolish his anti-LGBTQ ‘Commission on Unalienable Rights’
'Harmful to the Global Effort to Protect the Rights of All People and a Waste of Resources'
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday was sent letters signed by hundreds of human rights organizations, activists, and supporters, along with religious and political leaders demanding he abolish his newly-formed anti-LGBTQ and anti-women "Commission on Unalienable Rights."
Meghan McCain gets schooled after complaining Brett Kavanaugh was treated worse than Al Franken
Meghan McCain noticed the asymmetry in the accusations of sexual misconduct against Al Franken and Brett Kavanaugh, even if she overlooked how those allegations eventually played out.
"The View" tackled a New Yorker piece published by Jane Mayer, who believes the Minnesota Democrat was "railroaded" out of the U.S. Senate over sexual harassment claims, and McCain said Democrats had no choice but to force him to resign.
"Imagine him questioning Brett Kavanaugh at the time," McCain said, "which by the way, the writer who wrote this article, Jane Mayer, wrote a 2018 piece about allegations of Brett Kavanaugh that's been panned because the only corroborating witness said he had heard the story but he didn't remember it now, so it's very tricky."