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Episode Description:

We begin by recognizing the well-known analytic challenge which is to learn the basic scales and then learn to improvise – both being essential tools for creating a dependable and creative analytic space. Rafael shares with us his early familial psychoanalytic influences and his search to find his own voice. We discuss the similarities between analytic free association and musical improvisation. He demonstrates his clinical observations with three live musical renditions – first the melody and then two riffs off it with increasingly loose connections to the original theme. We discuss how this is similar to the deepening of an analytic process allowing for greater freedom of imagination and self-awareness. We consider the musical versions of countertransference as well as the termination capacity for improvised self-reflection.

About the Guest:

Rafael Ornstein, MD is a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst with a private practice in Brookline Massachusetts. He is a graduate of and on the faculty at the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute. He is an Instructor in Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and he supervises psychiatry residents at Massachusetts General Hospital. He is a frequent contributor to the Harvard Medical School continuing education course on psychodynamic psychotherapy. He enjoys playing piano in the sextet, Bluedog Jazz, a band with monthly gigs in local restaurants and clubs and is on Spotify