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          Argentine psycholanalysis

          Zac Wilkins

          Issue date: 4/9/10 Section: Opinion
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          An interesting phenomenon in Argentine culture became apparent to me just a few weeks ago. I was trying to plan a lunch meeting when I got back three responses from people all saying they had "psych" and couldn´t come. The abbreviation for this term led me to initially believe that they all had in common some sort of psychology class together, as many CWRU students do. I changed the plans to a different day, only to again receive the response that some people had "psych."

          It seemed strange until I noticed a magazine featuring Shakira on the cover. Shakira, who is dating the son of a former Argentine president, mentioned that, "The Argentines stuck me with the habit, and now I go to a shrink." Then it hit me: they weren´t talking about psychology classes but instead were talking about going to their psychologists. At first I thought, 'Wow, what a coincidence that they all have appointments at the same time,' but a friend of mine brushed off any notion of coincidence when she told me that this is a weekly affair and that conflicts would occur regardless of what week I changed it to. Seeing a psychologist is actually a widespread, cultural habit in Argentina, not just a set of coincidences.

          Why is it essentially a societal rule in Argentina culture for anyone under the age of 30 to go to a psychologist? What is different about this culture? Isn't it expensive to see a specialist each week?

          Luckily, my best friend down here, himself a psychology major, was able to shed some light on the matter. First, it turns out that seeing a psychologist is extremely affordable for Argentine people. Second, it seems from my observation that the attitude toward personal issues and internal struggles in Argentina is far different from the United States. I, for one, can only name one American friend who has chosen to go to a shrink, and that situation was a drastic one brought about by a desperate situation and as a last resort. Our view of the profession of psychology is one that renders a notion of something to be used when all other resources have been dried up, or some jarring event has compelled a doctor to prescribe the practice as a treatment for mental health issues.
          Continued...
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