Now that I’ve nearly finished my book on defense mechanisms, I’m wondering what to do next. I’ll continue with my book on shame and the defenses against it, but I’d also like to work on something more interactive, involving visitors to this and my After Psychotherapy site.

The project I have in mind would last about a year and eventually evolve into a book. At the beginning of each month, I’d post an exercise in a separate section of my personal website. During that month, participants would independently undertake the exercise, then share their responses with one another as comments to the posted exercise — a kind of virtual group therapy.

I would also respond to and engage in the conversation. Participation should involve no more than 5-6 hours per month.

In addition, I would “meet” once per month with each participant in a 50-minute video session via Skype, to discuss his or her reactions to the exercise, as well as any concerns or special needs. (Participants would pay for these sessions — the only expense involved — so being part of the project means committing $100 per month for ten months, payable as we go along.) The subject matter of these individual sessions would be disclosed to others in the group only as each participant sees fit. The identity of all participants would be unknown to everyone but me.

The title of the project/book would be something like “The Meaning of Your Emotional Pain … and Better Ways to Cope with it.” So much of mental health treatment today focuses on the elimination of pain through medication, or cognitive-behavioral techniques that don’t address the unconscious roots of psychic pain and how to understand it. The planned exercises would do just that; with the help of a small group of participants, I hope to shape these exercises into a book-length psychodynamic tool for people who can’t afford therapy.

It couldn’t replace individual treatment, of course, but I hope it would be of use.

This project would begin in September but I’m writing now to see whether enough of you are potentially interested to make it viable. I’d need 10-12 participants to make it work. In addition to the above, you would have to agree that I could make use of the material that evolves out of the project for the envisioned book, provided it is anonymized or altered to protect your privacy.

Anyone who is interested may participate, except:

1. My current clients. I think this would only complicate and interfere with your individual therapy.

2. Anyone on psychiatric medication. Because the goal of this project is to access and understand psychic pain, the fact that you’re taking a drug that dulls or obscures that pain will interfere with the discovery process.

3. People who are actively suicidal, who cut or otherwise physically harm themselves. In my practice, I work with such individuals and I know a project of this kind, with a single individual session per month, isn’t enough to help them manage their pain.

4. If’ you’re currently in therapy, I don’t think involvement in this project would interfere, but you should consult your therapist first and make sure he or she is in agreement.

Please let me know if you’re tentatively interested. Expressing interest now involves no commitment, but it will let me know if there’s enough interest out there to make this work. DO NOT SUBMIT A COMMENT TO THIS POST. Instead, in order to indicate your interest, please send an email to: afterpsy(at)gmail(dot)com, with “Possibly interested” in the subject line.

Thanks! I hope to hear from some of you soon.

Book photo available from Shutterstock.