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What on Earth is Going on? is a podcast for the curious, where small talk is banned and tangents are prized. Strap yourself in for genuine dialogues with people who think deeply and are ready to tackle the big questions, such as broadcaster Terry O'Reilly, economist Miles Corak and journalist Sally Armstrong.

Join Ben Charland to peel back the headlines and ask, what are the forces, people and ideas that shape the human story today? Have things always been this nuts, or are they getting crazier by the day? From the Mafia to the Beavertonwomen in politics to women in leadershiphistory to artificial intelligence, and entrepreneurship in the digital age to the art of wheelchair fencing, just what on Earth is going on?

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Mar 6, 2020

Do our names shape our destiny? What does it mean to live life as Don as opposed to Donald or Donnie? What prejudices do we carry with our names and the names of others, and what about those who change theirs? When we name our children, are we projecting our own battles and biases onto them before they even know the value of a name?

Ben is in Toronto to sit down with Mavis Himes, a psychoanalyst and clinical psychologist who wrote The Power of Names: Uncovering the Mystery of What We Are Called.

About the Guest

Mavis Himes is a clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst with a full-time private practice in Toronto, Canada. She is also clinical consultant at Wellspring, a cancer centre for patients and their families.

Himes received her doctoral degree in Psychology from the University of Toronto (OISE) and completed her analytic formation in Lacanian psychoanalysis at Apres-Coup Psychoanalytic Association in New York City. She is a member of Apres-Coup Psychoanalytic Association and a guest member of the Toronto Psychoanalytic Society.

With over thirty-five years of experience, Himes began her career in child psychology, working in a variety of children’s mental health clinics until she opened her private practice in 1988. Gradually, she shifted the population of her practice from that of children and adolescents to mainly that of adults. Even during the time of her work with children, she pursued her analytic interests and studies, always working with an appreciation of the effect of unconscious processes in the human psyche.

During her years of work with children, Himes became involved with Bereaved Families of Ontario (BFO) where she ran the children’s program and was a member of the Professional Advisory Committee. Subsequently Himes became clinical director of Wellspring for a two-year period, developing and running a number of group programs. Now she offers short-term counseling at Wellspring Westerkirk House on Sunnybrook campus.

Since 2003, Mavis Himes has been the director of Speaking of Lacan (SOL), a Toronto-based forum dedicated to the study of Lacanian psychoanalysis. SOL has hosted a speakers series and interdisciplinary colloquia on topics related to psychoanalytic thought, in addition to running seminars and reading groups (www.speakingoflacan.com). As part of this work, Himes has organized a series of lectures entitled Psychoanalysis and the Arts: In Conversation that provides an opportunity to explore and exchange commonalities and differences between psychoanalysis and the arts. In this series, she has been in dialogue with a number of prominent dancers, musicians and actors.

As a writer, Himes is the author of the current book The Power of Names: Uncovering the Mystery of What We are Called published by Rowman & Littlefield in 2016. The Sacred Body: A Therapist’s Journey, a book about her work with cancer patients, was previously published by Stoddart in 2002. She is also the author of numerous psychoanalytic articles and book chapters that have been published in a variety of journals both in North America and abroad. She has given numerous presentations on psychoanalysis to a variety of audiences.

Mentioned in this Episode

The Quote of the Week

"I wish my name was Brian because maybe sometimes people would misspell my name and call me Brain. That's like a free compliment and you don't even gotta be smart to notice it."
- Mitch Hedberg, US comedian (1968-2005)