05/23/2024, 02:55, Vienna  DEUTSCH / ENGLISH

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Leading articles

THE VIENNA PSYCHOANALYST wants to give not only already internationally established psychoanalysts, but also still unknown psychoanalysts the opportunity to post a self-written and not yet published article on the FrontPage of our online magazine!

Our Users then can leave comments, ask questions or discuss the articles in our forum. Our aim is to provide an international platform where for the first time anyone interested in psychoanalysis can exchange ideas on certain topics.
Articles are welcome in German and/ or English.

If you are interested, please send your article to

(For reasons of readability, the male form is used with personal names, however the female form is also always intended.)




In our interview series "in conversation with“, we will briefly present the authors of the leading articles. We want to give our users the opportunity to read the leading article from a different point of view.

This week we are very glad to welcome Glenville Ashby from New York, U.S.A:

Glenville Ashby was born in Trinidad. He is a graduate of the University of the West Indies, The London School of Journalism, The College of Media and Publishing, Euclid University, and the International School of Applied Psychoanalysis.
He also studied at The Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum, The Pontificia Accademia Pro Vita, Vatican City, Rome, and St. Gall´s Seminary in Switzerland.
He is a member of Oxford University Philosophy Society, the South Asian Journalist Association, the Canadian Bioethics Society, the American Society for Psychical Research and the International Society of Applied Psychoanalysis.
He received his doctoral degree in Interreligious Dialogue and Diplomacy.
Dr Ashby has authored five books, including the critically acclaimed, “The Believers: The Hidden World of West Indian Spiritualism in New York”, and the award-winning “Anam Cara: Your Soul Friend and Bridge to Enlightenment and Creativity”, and “The Mystical Qigong Handbook for Good Health”.
In Trinidad, Dr Ashby served as an educator. In New York he has worked as the overseas correspondent for the Guardian Media Limited. Today, he is a columnist and literary critic at the Gleaner Media Company. He also contributes articles to University Press (UWI), Kaieteur News in Guyana and has also written for San Francisco Review of Books.
Dr Ashby is a certified clinical hypnotherapist and is a certified qigong therapist. He is one of two certified Pangu Shengong teachers in New York State. The certification was awarded by the Pangu Shengong International Research Institute in China.
He teaches qigong at Harlem Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation and has owned a wellness business in New York for more than two decades He has conducted workshops on Qigong and Wellness in the US and the Caribbean.
Dr Ashby has been awarded a citation for the New York State Assembly for his contribution to culture and was the 2017 IMD award recipient for his contribution to Arts and Culture.
In 2012, he received an award from Plessey Academic in the UK for his contribution to Philosophy.
His distance learning course “Qigong and Psychoanalysis: A Course in Personal Development” has been endorsed by the Australian –based Qigong Chinese Health.
Dr Ashby has served honorably in the United States military (1994-98), and was the president of Global Interfaith Council. He currently serves as the president of the Trinidad and Tobago Qigong Association.
His latest book, The Search for Truth: Selected Writings in Spiritual Psychology has been called one of the most important books in its genre.

DWP: What brought you to psychoanalysis?

Glenville Ashby: I studied the fundamentals of the discipline at undergraduate level. Looking back at that period, I realize how little of Freud was presented.

I moved on and it took me a few years before revisiting Freud. I have always been fascinated with the possibilities of the mind. My steep involvement into mysticism and alternate states of awareness attracted me to indigenous religions, Stanislav Grof and Carl Jung.

Psychoanalysis was nowhere in the picture, until I began my studies in Qigong, one of the five pillars of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). It is qigong’s focus on energy in the human body and how it impacts overall wellness that spurred my interest in the libido. The more I compared Eastern and Western notes on the subject, the more I realized that the two approaches to health are not dissimilar. I started exploring Freud in earnest, contacted a few psychoanalytic institutes in New York,  where I eventually began personal analysis. Coincidentally, I got involved with  a study program atISAP, the International School of Applied Psychoanalysis. I have since continued my analysis at the school. The whole experience has been tremendously fulfilling.

DWP: If you had the opportunity to talk to Sigmund Freud, what would be the topic?
 Are there any specific questions?

Glenville Ashby: I would say, religion.

My question to Freud: Although you seem dismissive of religion, will you not concede that religion constitutes the very meaning of being Jewish? Could a Jew really espouse atheism? Could a Jew negate the existential value of Judaism? Is such denial the same as erasing one’s lineage and own identity?


DWP: Fabric or leather couch?

Glenville Ashby: Tactility as a sensation is under-explored. Most of us feel fully served by the other senses. Tactility is equally emotive, nourishing and, moreover, educational. That’s why in a sitting or supine position the texture on which our bodies come into contact is meaningful. The type and color of the fabric are important in my work.

DWP: Bruno Bettelheim pointed out the importance of fairy tales in childhood. Will you tell us your favorite fairy tale? And do you see parallels to your own adult life?

Glenville Ashby: Growing up in Trinidad was a truly educational experience. A diverse society, children have drawn from different cultural sources. Although anglicized during centuries-long enslavement, vestiges of African culture survived. The griot or story teller and the argot or dialect are still very much alive making for a rich, cultural milieu. As a child, the story of Anansi, the wise and elusive spider, was instructive and used as pedagogical resource at home and in kindergarten. This folk tale originated in Ghana among the Akkan people and, through oral tradition, emerged as the signature tale that gave hope to the slaves. Anansi made the journey of death from Africa to the Americas. Countless perished. Survivors were sold and enslaved. Throughout the ordeal, Anansi proved unconquerable. He was said to have mystical powers, carrying news from one plantation to another, assisting in slave revolts when needed. He was invisible and a source of strength and wisdom. There are many variants of Anansi tales depending on the islands on which they blossomed. The underlying lesson, though, of resilience and implacability in the face of oppressive circumstances are the same. I have drawn strength from this folktale.

DWP: I dream, and...

Glenville Ashby: I become the god I wish to be. My fears are oftentimes confronted and defeated; my desires are met; and my fantasies experienced. I can even defeat death. I dream and achieve individuation. Alas, I labor toward that end in the conscious state and oftentimes fail. Barriers are too insurmountable. I dream, though, and I heal. become.

DWP: What do you find good or particularly good about psychoanalysis and is there anything you do not like about it?

Glenville Ashby: In the Caribbean, we find diverse family structures due to slavery and indentureship. The absence of the father figure (attributed to a host of reasons), led to the matrilineal structures. The advent of East Indians after the manumission of slaves added another fabric to the institution. In most settings, the extended family took shape and it is within this broad carapace that child is nurtured. In the Caribbean we identify with the role that childhood experiences and socialization play in later life. The psychosexual theories we study during training are interesting and overwhelmingly credible. Where psychoanalysis falls short is in its cursory exploration of spirituality. I believe that any discipline of the mind must foray into the mental possibilities. One can argue that in The Interpretation of Dreams Freud explored uncharted territory and was on the cusp of telepathic studies although he himself would have rejected this assessment. Of course, I am bias because of my indulgence in metaphysics and indigenous religions from African to India and now China. I was also a seminarian and studied at pontifical institutes in Rome. I don’t think we should dismiss hallucinations (visual and auditory, in particular), as mere inventions of the unconscious, therapeutic or not. Was Carl Jung’s Philemon an extension of his own consciousness or an entity beyond the scope of his understanding. Jung himself can only speculate. Today, quantum physics has taken this discourse in another, far more complex dimension.

I think - whether you are a therapist or analyst - the role of culture at times overrides everything. Case in point: In Trinidad, what constitutes a spiritual awakening, a blessing of the gods may be looked at as a pathological, and treated as such. While some cultures celebrate (in the religious-spiritual setting) what many call mental illness, others move to treat pathological underpinnings with medication and therapy aimed at healing so called psychic cracks.

DWP: What challenges did you have to face during your analytic training?

Glenville Ashby: I am still in training so I am sure I will have far more to say in due time. Suffice it to say, trust and candor are always at the forefront. Frankly, I am a private person with guarded opinions and experiences. I think that we are saint and sinners, capable of mercy and kindness, but also capable of unspeakable savagery when rightly molded. And that is so easy to do. I have learned overtime to fear that side of us. Time will tell the extent that will impact my training.

DWP: Do you have a favorite Freud - quote?

Glenville Ashby: “Time spent with cats is never wasted.”

DWP:  Are there other psychoanalysts, in addition to Sigmund Freud, who you like to study?

Glenville Ashby: I am quite impressed by Donald Winnicott’s work, in particular, his True and False Self paradigm. I identify with the spontaneity, energy and creative impulsivity he attaches to the True Self and how these attributes are nourished by the infant’s interaction with the primary caregiver. Of course, we could always argue over the nature vs. nurture determination of creativity. However, these two concepts veer into so many areas well beyond the scope of classical psychoanalysis. I think this is Winicott’s lasting impact.

Thank you very much for this conversation, we are already looking forward to your leading article!

Contact information of the author:
Glenville Ashby

Sigmund Freud Museum SFU Belvedere 21er haus stuhleck kunsthalle
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