A publication of the Washington Baltimore Center for Psychoanalysis

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Rhythms of Baseball (Re-issue)

David Cooper, PhD
Member, Washington Center for Psychoanalysis
Spring/Summer 2023 (originally published Sept 2014) | Volume 1 | Issue 2

The rhythms of baseball are the rhythms of analytic therapy are the rhythms of life. While baseball has been described as the perfect game with perfect distances (90 feet, 60 feet, six inches), no clock (timeless) and the constant possibility of wonder, I reflect on my own experience of a game that captured my imagination as a young child and that welcomed me back as an adult willing to be transported to that childhood place of hope and possibility. In baseball the action stops for a moment before the pitch comes in, the batter swings and all the fielders are in motion. This momentary stop in the action allows for reflection, the build-up of tension and, subsequently, the release into jubilation or despair. There is always hope until the last out, and then there is always tomorrow, next week, next year. Like with therapy, the highs and lows are part of a process that goes on for some time. Just as we know and value the good therapeutic hour, so we can appreciate the string of improbable hits, the sense that our team has found the zone where nothing goes wrong, the sense of invincibility. In contrast, there are those times when it feels nothing goes right, the team can’t make a play. As fans we get the opportunity to master the feelings that inhabit our lives, and over time, we are the better for it.

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