One hot summer morning in Baltimore in the late 1940s, Dr. Robert Lindner, chief of psychological services for the Maryland Department of Corrections and a psychoanalyst in private practice, received an unusual telephone call from aphysician at a classified government installation in New Mexico. The doctor was calling about a patient whom he wanted to send to Baltimore; only Dr. Lindner, he believed, was qualified to help this talented but troubled young man. The patient, whom Lindner called “Kirk Allen” in a subsequent case study, was a research scientist whose strange behavior while working in a high-security government post had begun to alarm his superiors Specifically, Allen had been covering the margins of his government reports with odd, hieroglyphic-like symbols. When questioned by Lindner about the bizarre inscriptions, Allen revealed that he was “Lord of an interplanetary empire in a distant universe” far in the future. “I have crossed the immensities of space, broken out of time,” his patient replied, explaining that the odd symbols were notes, written in the language of his home planet, taken during his galactic explorations. Mikita Brottman explains.

Read More. Baltimore Style, October 2017


With Halloween upon us and the crisp chill of fall in the air, ’tis the season where our fascination with all things macabre is invited to come out and play. However as a psychotherapist, hauntings, possessions, and spells are not a seasonal novelty but a daily occurrence, as individuals come seeking relief from their inner demons and psychic pain. In my work with people in whom eating disorders are their primary symptomatology, I have found that certain monster metaphors recur again and again: The witch and the vampire. Melissa Daum explains here.

Posted on October 27, 2016 .


ll things considered, sleep is a glorious, glorious thing. I could wax poetic about the merits of a good snooze, but I imagine we’re all in agreement here. The downside? Dreams—or, more specifically, nightmares, especially the surreal, is-this-really-happening type. While we can write them off as insignificant or inconsequential, Carl Jung would tell you: they often reflect the unconscious. We all know what it means when you’re flying (you feel empowered), someone around you has died (a new beginning, or a milestone has been reached), or you’re falling (you don’t feel in control), but what about when your hair is falling out, or your nails keep breaking? Or, even worse: You got a bad haircut? Melissa Daum explains at Stylecaster.

Posted on October 27, 2016 .

Psychoanalysis, Resistance, and Telepathy: The case of Ted Serios

Ghosts, spirits, and magic have always fascinated me. I am not a scientist, and I have no need to 'prove' that such delicate phenomena 'exist,' whatever that might mean, since in my fields--art and literature--they do exist, and are everywhere. They manifest as themes, motifs, plot twists, reflections, metaphors, and portals to secret places. Read the article here

Posted on January 29, 2016 .

A Jungian Approach to Fairy Tales with Tom Elsner

Shrink Rap Radio podcast by David Van Nuys, Ph.D. 

Thomas Elsner, J.D., M.A., Jungian analyst, is a core faculty member at Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara, California where he also has a private practice. A former attorney, he trained at the Jung-Von Franz Center for Depth Psychology in Zurich. A member of the C. G. Jung Study Center of Southern California, his areas of special interest include alchemy and the depth psychology of folklore and literature. He is currently completing a book about Coleridge and The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

Listen to the podcast here

Posted on November 5, 2015 .

"Under the Spell of a Name" by Mikita Brottman, in the NYT Modern Love column, Nov 13, 2014

"A palm reader once told me I was going to marry a man named Andrew. I guess it could still happen, but I wouldn’t bet money on it. I have been married once and it wasn’t pretty. I have no plans to let it happen again, though if it does, odds are it won’t be to an Andrew." Read the full article here

Posted on November 17, 2014 .


Once upon a time there was poor man who had barely enough to feed his family. As he sat before the fire, sighing over his misfortune, he heard a knock on the window. When he opened the shutters, he found a great white bear standing in the snow. "Don't be afraid. I have come to ask for the hand of your youngest daughter," said the bear. "Only let me take her away, and you shall be paid in silver and gold." The man asked his daughter if she would consent to marriage with the great white bear. "No," she said. The man replied, "But think of your poor family. The bear shall give us silver and gold." At last she agreed. She dressed in her best rags and stepped out into the snow. "Climb upon my back," said the bear, "for we have very far to go." Read the rest of Terri Windling's article in the Journal of Mythic Arts.

Posted on November 14, 2014 .

Psychoanalysis and Magic: Then and Now, by Mikita Brottman

This article considers the long-standing and complex association between psychoanalysis and the paranormal. Beginning with a brief discussion of the early history of the psychoanalytic movement, it then takes up the subject of magic and the paranormal in relation to the earliest practitioners of psychoanalysis, including Freud. Although magic, symbol, and superstition are generally considered to be primitive forms of thinking, contemporary psychoanalysis is full of them. Indeed, psychoanalysis itself is a form of magic, as Freud himself admitted. Read the rest of the article here (pdf).

Posted on November 13, 2014 .

Some Thoughts on Dream Aesthetics by Mikita Brottman

As Freud acknowledged, the same narrative capacity that helps us make sense of reality also helps us to make sense of the dream. However, although the dream's waking analogue is usually considered to be fiction, dreams are seldom, if ever, language-based. In what language do dreams speak to us? Do we dream in words, illustrations, or moving images? In considering the dreams of a group of young artists, I offer some tentative thoughts and questions about the aesthetics of dreams. Read the rest of the article here.

Posted on October 25, 2014 .


Regarded as a "body focused repetitive behavior" by the DSM," this confessional article suggests there is something archetypal about compulsive hair twisting, drawing upon the connection between women, hair, sexuality, and twisting or spinning in mythology, fairy tales, and art. The image of a self-absorbed woman with her hand tangled in her hair is pervasive in Pre-Raphaelite paintings, offering a decadent, visual history of the very posture a hair twister assume when engaging in her "regressive" habit. 

Posted on October 20, 2014 .