Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities

Sisyphus Revisited: Psychoanalysis and the Quest for Meaning in a Manic World

Dr Ionas Sapountzis.

Despite the continuous shift that has characterized the psychoanalytic movement, from orthodoxy to relativism, from instincts and drives to object relations and intersubjetivity, what has remained unchanged is that the patients who seek treatment are all individuals who feel increasingly estranged and dissatisfied with themselves and their relationships. To work with individuals in states of alienation and disengagement, therapists should not only understand what is enacted and projected in the room or how estranged and ineffective these patients feel in the roles they enact, but also how foreclosed they remain despite their efforts to generate a more meaningful life. The therapists need also to understand how estranged they feel themselves in the process, how much they may often feel compelled to act in order to offset – in perfect synchrony with their patients – the nothingness that is projected in the room. In their quest to create meaning therapists need to understand and contain the experiences of loneliness and estrangement that are evoked in the room, and to accept that these emotions are always present in the one’s journey through life.


Dr Ionas Sapountzis  (United States)
Associate Professor
School Psychology Program
Long Island University

Born in Greece, received his BA form the University of Athens and his Ph.D from New York University. Associate Professor in School Psychology, at LIU, Faculty and Supervisor at the Program for Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy of the Derner Insitute, Adelphi University, private practice in Garden City, New York.

  • Psychoanalysis
  • Psychotherapy
  • Working with estranged and dissatisfied individuals
  • Therapist’s experiences and reactions
  • Enactment

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)