Given the manifold threats to the profession of psychoanalysis—Prozac and its cousins, HMOs, all those new therapies—perhaps it’s inevitable that a mass gathering of analysts would generate and perpetrate a fantasy about abandonment. During the annual meeting of the American Psychoanalytic Association at the Waldorf, the rumor was rampant that after more than fifteen years, hotel management was dissatisfied with the group’s small bar bill and wasn’t going to invite it back. “It may be true analysts don’t drink a lot,” says Dean Stein, the association’s executive director. “But the rumor about being thrown out of the Waldorf because of it is not true. That the rumor traveled so quickly can be thought about psychoanalytically: Analysts are human. They themselves are prey to various fears. In a group setting, they too can magnify their concerns, just like any group.” The Waldorf, for its part, had no idea where this rumor originated. “We are in the process of confirming their 2008 conference,” says the hotel’s spokeswoman.
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