Analyzing Obama’s Absentee Analyst

By Gilbert O. Sanders, Ed.D.
September 12, 2012

Inside the Mind of the President: Obama on the Couch by Justin A. Frank, M.D is an interesting read and will likely be hailed by many as an outstanding book for clearing the air on how the president thinks and makes decisions. There is little doubt even among his naysayers that Obama is an adept politician, excellent speech writer and skillful speaker.

That said, the book is heavily biased, employing major omissions and question- able material to paint a picture which is not true to the psychoanalysis methods of Freud. In fact the author even states that he was heavily influenced by Melanie Klein, the Austrian-born British psychoanalyst who created play therapy for working with children. This is evidenced by the amount of time devoted in the book to the relationship between “Barry,” Obama’s childhood nick- name, and his mother, Stanley Ann Durham.

However, Klein’s work focused on play with children and Frank addresses the president as an adult, reflecting on his relation- ship (or lack thereof) with his mother and father, which is not strictly using the techniques developed by Klein that focused on play. Further, Frank uses as a basis for the book the president’s writings in Dreams from My Father , which is known to contain multiple inaccuracies about the president’s parents. In fact Frank fails to address the president at play either as a child or an adult.

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