PhDr., CSc. Michael Šebek

* 1946  

  • “I am going to tell you about my experience on 21 August. I had an internship arranged in a psychiatric clinic in Hradec Králové which was good. Chlumec is twenty-five kilometres from Hradec, so when we had a mandatory internship, I had it there. I came to the train at half-past six, those were trains for blue-collar workers, I sat down and people there were saying that something was going on in Prague, (they were talking about) an occupation and such things, so everyone was pretty scared. And when the train got to Hradec Králové, fighter planes were flying over Hradec Králové. Back then, they were saying that it was the Polish army. And I am going to tell you about an experience which seems amazing to me. In the clinic, there were severely ill patients who suffered from schizophrenia, endogenous depression, and people who had mental blocks and when I came there, they simply got up from bed and were looking at the fighter planes and when we spoke to them, they were completely present, do you understand? (They suffered from) hallucination, delusions, endogenous depression when people do not react to anything or they are apathetic and all of them were triggered. And suddenly, their attitude to reality was, because of the danger there, completely the same as ours, as (the attitude to reality of) people who came there to intern and cure and I do not know what else.”

  • “It was important to me to do something connected to psychology, I somehow must have been motivated, well and what was also part of it was my so-called professional way of being a dissident. I mean, I did not want to focus on Marxist psychology which they forced us. So I assumed a field that was semi-banned, it was ideologically banned, it was not banned in the sense that you cannot do it, but as something which does not correspond to Marxism-Leninism. It was basically an underground, a strange sort of underground which however peeked out a little bit because, as I say, the professionals knew that psychoanalysts existed and they even knew who was involved but at the same time, it was kept secret.”

  • “Of course, they brainwashed us into communism at school. It was more powerful sometimes. When I was about ten or eleven years old, I persuaded my grandpa that communism was better. And my grandpa…, I can still see him as if it was today, and I have to say that I still feel a bit sorry because of it, they had also been brainwashed, they turned on the radio and I mean, on Radio Free Europe, you could hear the information for a moment and then you could not hear it for a moment. The radios were jammed, in a horrible way, so that sentences or even whole paragraphs they were reading there were lost here and there. So when I was telling him that, he said: ‘Well, you are a different generation and you may be right.‘ And it is really powerful (to see) the enormous pressure on the supporter of Masaryk and Beneš and that he was not sure in his old age anymore.”

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Praha, 13.09.2021

    duration: 01:34:48
    media recorded in project Stories of the 20th Century TV
  • 2

    Praha, 12.10.2021

    duration: 01:37:05
    media recorded in project Stories of the 20th Century TV
  • 3

    Praha, 27.10.2021

    duration: 01:03:24
    media recorded in project Stories of the 20th Century TV
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

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Student of Secondary general education school Ohradní
Student of Secondary general education school Ohradní
photo: witness´s archive

Michael Šebek was born on 18 October in Prague, in the family of a violinist Jaroslav Šebek and Zdeňka Šebková, née Filounková. The family was always very anti-communist. He was genuinely interested in poetry, literature, and theatre since his secondary education, however, he was influenced by a book “Rozumíte sami sobě?” (Do you understand yourself?) by Ivo Pondělíček and chose to study psychology. When studying at the Faculty of Arts of Charles University, he was deeply influenced by psychoanalysis, which was strongly rejected by the Marxist ideology, and he started psychoanalytical training under the supervision of Pavel Tauterman. He attended flat seminars and specialized events of unofficial psychoanalytical societies in the 1970s and 1980s. In 1989 he became a direct associate member of the International Psychoanalytical Association (IPA). After the Velvet Revolution, the witness initiated the foundation of the official Czech Psychoanalytical Society, he co-founded the Czech Society for Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy and Brno Institute of Psychotherapy. At present (2021) he works as a teacher and a private psychoanalyst.