Letter from Toronto by Stefania Baresic

As we do the holding for our clients in this time of confinement, accelerated changes, tragic losses, and fear, someone must hold us as well, being a loving partner who offers a hug at the end of day; or we must have a spiritual practice that calms and grounds our breathing or a community like this one, whom I can imagine silently and attentively listening. It has been a difficult two weeks…

Letter from New York by Joseph A. Cancelmo

The coronavirus pandemic has rocked our world as we knew it, bringing visceral waves of anxiety and fear and unspeakable, unbearable loss in its wake. For many of us, our way of life, our livelihood, our intimacies, and our social connections have been relegated to the phone and the internet—digital lifelines of virtual contact in which the very medium of connection can accentuate the distance, the loneliness.

Letter from Birmingham by Elizabeth Trawick

My thinking has been simpler, less developed. Yesterday morning, I did three sessions: one phone, two FaceTime. At the end, I was overwhelmed with emotion, struggling to hold myself together. My last patient had her own version of “I’m not accomplishing anything.” I realized that she is working so hard in unrecognized ways: caring for her ninety-four-year-old father when she just remarried a few months ago, needing to social distance from a beloved daughter who is coming to town, having the strength to do this, her own terror and needs for care, etc. The familiar storms that batter us now. I said to her simply…

Letter from New York by Dinah Mendes

Indulging the hope that we’ll be returning to psychotherapy and psychoanalysis in person and in office in the not too distant future, I wonder what, if anything, I will take away from this new and enforced remote arrangement. Although by the end of the day, my eyes are dry and achy from staring at the screen…

ROOM Cover 2.20 issue

TREMORS by Hattie Myers

“To be stupefied,” Jared Russell explains in his provocative essay Stupidity, “is to regress in the face of the unexpected, to have one’s critical faculties paralyzed.” The contributors to Room 2.20 may be terrified and even heartbroken in the face of the unexpected, but they are not stupefied.

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DIVING INTO THE STREAM by Daniel S. Benveniste

I relocated from San Francisco to Caracas, Venezuela, in March 1999, just one month after Hugo Chávez assumed the presidency. He presented himself as a socialist intent on helping the underclasses and ending corruption, and I was ready to sign up. In addition to my practice and teaching at Universidad Central de Venezuela and Universidad Católica Ándres Bello, I started writing a monthly article in the English-language newspaper under the title “The Psychology of Everyday Life,” addressing topics such as childrearing and adolescent issues.

TRUMP’S WALL by Sheldon Bach

In the Anglo-American world, men are brought up to value a body image that is hard, flat, and impermeable, more like a wall, whereas women are taught to value or at least be content with one that might be softer or more flexible and is certainly leaky, like a fence.

Trump Frace Tile

PROJECTION AS A POLITICAL WEAPON by Chris Bell and Gary Senecal

Donald Trump’s penchant for attacking his opponents by projecting onto them his own disavowed personal attributes and apparent self-assessments has been a consistent feature of his rhetorical style and remarked upon by many observers. For instance, in her recent book The Death of Truth: Notes on Falsehood in the Age of Trump, Michiko Kakutani (2019) observes, “Trump has the perverse habit of accusing opponents of the very sins he is guilty of himself: ‘Lyin’ Ted,’ ‘Crooked Hillary,’ ‘Crazy Bernie.’

Man portrait in black and white diffuse image

STUPIDITY by Jared Russell

In explicating the thought of Socrates, Nietzsche wrote that philosophy was an effort “to harm stupidity” (The Gay Science, §328). According to Nietzsche, humanism teaches us that it is our egotism that is to blame for our misery. Socrates taught the youth of Athens that it is our thoughtlessness that is to blame.