Monday, May 19, 2014

Psychoanalysts Honor Dr. Lucy Daniels of Raleigh in Florence, Italy
Lucy Daniels
Raleigh's Lucy Daniels, who's 80, will break your heart. Anorexic at 12. A mental patient at 17, complete with electro shock therapy and insulin treatments. A father -- newspaper magnate Jonathan Daniels -- who didn't believe in therapy for his daughter. A bestselling novel ("Caleb, My Son") at 21. Then long years of writer's block. Yet from all this pain came healing. And more. For years as a psychologist and as the founder of the Lucy Daniels Center for Early Childhood and the Lucy Daniels Foundation in Raleigh, Daniels has helped others who are blocked or depressed to find their way into health and healing through writing and art.

On Saturday in Florence, Italy, the International Symposium on Psychoanalysis and Art honored her with its first ever Lifetime Achievement Award at the group's annual symposium.
"Dr. Daniels has been the chief and most articulate advocate of the exploration of the ties between our creativity and its power over our mental health," said one organizer of the symposium.
When I interviewed Daniels in 1997, she told me she is ever on the alert for three things that hamper her writing. "When it gets wooden, when it gets weak and when it gets shallow." When this happens, she said, she knows her unconscious issues are keeping her best writing at bay.
Emotional pain brought her freedom.
"I don't think that pain that's denied -- kept out of awareness -- is less painful than pain you become aware of and go through," she said. "When you keep your pain out of awareness -- by clinging to an impossible marriage, by drinking too much, eating too much -- it's very difficult.
"The difference between keeping it out and facing the pain and the grief and aching with it," she said, "is that in the latter, you go through it and out. In the former, you keep carrying around the burden."