Gary Bloom

March 29, 2021

Playing the Black Card


Undergoing classic psychoanalysis, these days, is a bit like owning an American Express Black Card. The “Black Card,” (formally, the Centurion Card) is issued by invitation only, and the lucky dot-com zillionaires pay a (in the U.S.) $7,500 initiation fee and a $2,500 yearly fee. Short of becoming a President of the United States (Presidents notoriously don’t carry a wallet) you can’t have more on-the-go financial prestige than the Black Card. Here’s the punch line: if you gave the chauffeur the day off, and you’re feeling cool tooling around in your Lamborghini, and you want to grab a cup of coffee, the most prestigious credit card on Earth probably won’t get accepted by the street parking meter. 

Like the American Express Black Card, psychoanalysis is the expensive and prestigious kind of psychotherapy, but commonly not useful to help with the challenges of everyday life that often require relief within a short time. And why would a treatment invented in the late nineteenth century be the therapy of choice in the twenty-first? Nevertheless, having your “worried well” clientele lie on your couch for the traditional multiple hours a week, at several-hundred a session, while you sit behind them scribbling notes (or playing games on your iPad), is a gig any therapist would want.