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Detroit: Living Between

By way of brief introduction–I am a psychoanalytic psychologist who grew up in the Downriver area and who has remained enthralled with Detroit ever since. For those unfamiliar with contemporary psychoanalysis, or those thinking that Freud still reigns, my field may be seen alternately as the art of questioning what is real or as the practice of listening to a patient’s own reality. Using our tools of reflection, introspection, interpretation and empathic responsiveness we seek to understand mixed, varied and even conflictual experiences, dreams and desires.

As therapists, we practice mainly within the confines of our private office spaces in hushed tones, and in isolation from the intemperate world banging at our doors. With the emergence of trauma studies, our work has widened beyond the abiding focus on individuals. We can now leave our consulting rooms, and venture forth without our favorite theories and comforts. Such changes in practice and perspective introduce us to the actual world of living nightmares and dreams, as well as to the death of reason in favor of emotionality and at times violence. This change also brings us into contact with the vibrancy of lives growing and developing no matter how uneven or messy. We participate in the creation of “new-nows” often beyond what history suggests is possible.

Perhaps, deservedly, we have often been dismissed so we must prove we have something to offer and not merely relics of times gone. Each of us has to answer for him/herself if one is to interact with the world. For me it means stepping in and pushing back as I find a venue to offer understanding and a context for deurbanization, corruption of power, suburbanization and the politics of racial discrimination among other issues.

Detroit, referred as the “mecca of urban ruins” will be the focus of this documentary. Psychoanalytic theories will be held lightly as the voices of Detroiters will be given precedence as they teach us what the city was, is and may become, This seems only fitting as they have been have witnesses to an alarming decline that has left Detroit isolated and in the sad position of the largest shrinking city in the country. Those who have expressed an interest in the city are seemingly more captivated by “ruin photos” than by the human stories. Finding and honoring other healthier emotional narratives, much like analysis, may offer understanding to the marginalized while highlighting transitions to better possibilities.

I hope you will allow me the privilege of hearing your stories. If you have questions please feel free to contact me by email using the contact form or by phone at 616.940.1100.  I can also be reached by mail at:

Richard Raubolt Ph. D

967 Spaulding Ave SE

Ada, MI 49301