Dr Freud and the Interpretation of Your Vacation


Happy summer! Finally, that sweet season is here. Outdoor activities, gardens in full bloom, warm breezes, early sunrise and late sunset are yours to enjoy. But projects that bring billable hours often conclude in June and cause July and August to be cash-starved. What’s a Solopreneur to do? Reviewing your client list and thinking about how to create business in the fourth quarter is always useful. But why not take a vacation, if you can afford it?

Vacations are good for you. You need to escape from the usual workaday routines to refresh your spirit and revitalize your perspectives. Both psychologists and productivity experts espouse the benefits of getting away from it all and short vacations sprinkled throughout the year have been demonstrated to produce greater stress reductions and benefits to both creativity and productivity than a single two-week vacation. Besides, a serendipitous networking opportunity could fall into your lap while at your vacation destination, or you could possibly come up with a brilliant solution to a vexing problem, once you’ve begun to relax and unwind.

I’ve vacationed in every season and personally, I prefer winter get-aways that allow me to visit warm climates and escape frigid, snowy New England for a week or two. Winter vacations are expensive though, in terms of time and money and they take business owners and Solopreneurs out-of-town when B2B clients are in town and working. If you’re able, then do so, but many of the self-employed are better served by taking a vacation when clients are likely to be away as well and that means summer.

Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis and the father of psychotherapy, was a devotee of the summer vacation. The task of planning his family’s annual summer vacation was a favorite project that he called the “Sommerproblem.” Vacations brought tangible benefits to Dr. Freud.

In July 1895, while summering at Schloss Bellevue, a hotel and spa located in an outer district of Vienna, Freud had the dream that gave rise to his ground-breaking theory that dreams are wish-fulfillment. His book On the Interpretation of Dreams was published in 1899 and it is still in print.

In his only visit to the U.S., in August 1909, Freud combined business with pleasure when he came to Clark University in Worcester, MA to deliver five lectures on psychoanalysis and receive an honorary degree. On his visit, Freud met James Jackson Putnam, professor of neurology at Harvard University and a leader of the movement to professionalize psychotherapy in the U.S. Putnam invited Freud and two other well-known psychoanalysts who traveled to America with him — Carl Jung, who also lectured and received an honorary degree from Clark and Sandor Ferenczi — to spend a few days at the Putnam family camp in the Adirondacks and visit Niagara Falls.

Several days of hiking and feasting led Freud to later write of “the most important personal relationship which arose from the meeting at Worcester.” Putnam gave credibility to Freud’s theories about psychoanalysis and promoted its use (NY Times August 29, 2009). His reputation soared and his practice was set from then on.

While on your next vacation, it is unlikely that you will be inspired to author a book that becomes an international best-seller, connect with an influential thought-leader who helps to solidify your professional reputation, or encounter a venture capitalist who provides the funding that takes your start-up to the next level.

But you could meet your next client, or someone who tells you about an unexpected market for your services. If you plan well and don’t try to overdo, you will relax and feel better, whether you visit a new location or return to a perennial favorite. Whatever you do, have a wonderful time!

Thanks for reading,