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Down the Yellow Brick Road: The Wizard of Oz as a Journey of Psychic Transformation

posted Mar 4, 2021, 9:38 AM by Houston Psychoanalytic Society   [ updated Mar 4, 2021, 9:38 AM ]
Study Group

Down the Yellow Brick Road: The Wizard of Oz as a Journey of Psychic Transformation
Facilitated by Jamie L. Loveland, PhD, LCSW
2 Mondays
April 12th and April 19th, 2021
7:00 PM - 8:30 PM CST

Zoom Presentation
*Pre-Registration required for Zoom invitation

Registration Fees
Active Members: $80
Friend Members: $90
Student Members: $40
Non-members: $100


The 1939 film, The Wizard of Oz, and the book on which it was based, are endearing classics that still have the capacity to delight children and adults alike. This study group will reexamine these works of art, metaphorically taking us down the yellow brick road as we consider what lessons they might hold for contemporary psychoanalytic theory and practice. Interestingly, the book was authored by L. Frank Baum in 1900, the same year that Freud published “The Interpretation of Dreams.” The study group will use four different psychoanalytic articles with which to approach the material. Goldwater’s (2013) modern psychoanalytic perspective suggests that both works integrate conscious and unconscious experience in a similar manner, which may give rise to seemingly magical influences in psychoanalysis and everyday life. According to Stern (2003), however, The Wizard of Oz provides a different and more nuanced view of female psychosexual development and mother-daughter struggles than those initially posited by Freud. Stern (2015) further offers a self-psychology vantage of home as a metaphor for Dorothy’s sense of self at the start of a developmental crisis. From a relational standpoint, Newirth (2015) suggests that The Wizard of Oz represents emerging transformational trends in psychoanalysis, which emphasize the creation of subjective meaning. Participation in the study group requires an intermediate level of understanding of psychoanalytic theory. Registration is limited to a relatively small group of participants in order to allow time for interactive discussion. The readings will be emailed to those who register for the group.    

  1. Describe how the integration of conscious and unconscious experiences give rise to seemingly magical influences in psychoanalysis and daily life.
  2. Give an example of a “magical” incident in clinical practice or daily life.
  3. Describe what The Wizard of Oz suggests about female psychosexual development.
  4. Explain how the movie portrayal of mother-daughter struggles differs from Freud’s view of the Oedipus complex in females.
  5. Explain how home is a metaphor for Dorothy’s sense of self at the start of her developmental crisis.
  6. Explain how The Wizard of Oz suggests the creation of subjective meaning.
  7. Give an example of the creation of subjective meaning in the psychoanalytic dyad.   
April 12, 2021
Goldwater, E. (2013). Magic and psychoanalysis. Modern Psychoanalysis, 38: 227-245.

Stern, J. (2003). Cyclones, bi-cycles, and psychoanalysis: The witch-of-us? complex and the Wizard of OZ. Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 51: 1241-1261.

April 19, 2021
Stern, J. (2015). No place like home. International Journal of Psychoanalytic Self Psychology, 10: 390-397.

Newirth, J. (2015). Psychoanalysis’ past, present, and future: Sherlock Holmes, Sir Lancelot, and the Wizard of Oz. Psychoanalytic Psychology, 32: 307-320.
Jamie L. Loveland, PhD, LCSW is a Houston-based clinical social worker on the faculty of Baylor College of Medicine and the Center for Psychoanalytic Studies. She is a past president of the Houston Psychoanalytic Society and works in private practice with individuals, couples, and families. She received her MSW at Smith College School for Social Work in Northampton, Massachusetts where the study and practice integration of psychodynamic theory was emphasized. While attaining her PhD at the Institute of Clinical Social Work in Chicago, Illinois, where she completed a specialization in psychodynamic psychotherapy, she studied at length with Jeffery Stern, one of the contributing authors whom we will be reading in the study group. During this time, her paper titled “The National Elections: As Seen Through the Paranoid Schizoid and Depressive Positions,” won the Houston Psychoanalytic Society’s annual paper prize. Her most recent writings focus on the psychoanalytic treatment of couples struggling with addiction, which she has presented nationally, and for which she received the 2018-19 Gerald Stechler Award through Section VIII (Family and Couples Therapy), Division 39 (Society for Psychoanalysis and Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy) of the American Psychological Association.
Houston Psychoanalytic Society
1302 Waugh Dr. #276, Houston, TX 77019
(713) 429-5810
This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint providership of American Psychoanalytic Association, Center for Psychoanalytic Studies, and Houston Psychoanalytic Society. The American Psychoanalytic Association is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The American Psychoanalytic Association designates this Live Activity for a maximum of 3 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE INFORMATION FOR ALL LEARNERS: None of the planners and presenters of this CME program have any relevant financial relationships to disclose.

HPS, through co-sponsorship with the Center for Psychoanalytic Studies, also offers approved CEs for social workers, licensed professional counselors, and marriage and family therapists.