Medium 9781782200727

Who's Behind the Couch?

Views: 119
Ratings: (0)

What is it like to be a working psychoanalyst? And what is it like to be held in the mind of one? These were the questions that led Winer and Malawista to interview seventeen notable analysts from around the world. Who's Behind the Couch?: The Heart and the Mind of the Psychoanalyst explores the analyst's mind at work, not so much from a theoretical perspective, but rather from the complexities and richness inherent in every moment-to-moment clinical encounter. As analysts we are all continually challenged to find what might work best with a particular patient. Yet we don't often hear senior analysts share their personal struggles, feelings, and sensibilities. To understand the internal experience of analysts the authors posed questions such as: What is it like for analysts to manage rough spots, to lose ground and try to recapture it? To feel appreciated and then to feel devalued? To feel betrayed? To feel responsibility for someone's life while working to maintain their own balance? These questions and others probed the interior life of the analysts interviewed, touching on a range of feelings from love to hate, envy and rage to desire and longing. While this book will be of interest to practitioners, it should also be of interest to those considering or engaging in treatment. At a time when the relevance of psychoanalysis is challenged, personal reflections of the analyst enrich our understanding of the deep and meaningful relationship that illuminates the depth and vibrancy of psychoanalytic practice today.The interviewees featured are: Stefano Bolognini (Italy), Richard Waugaman (United States), Ilany Kogan (Israel), Rosemary Balsam (United States), Joseph Lichtenberg (United States), Werner Bohleber (Germany), Salman Akhtar (United States), Claudio Eizirik (Brazil), Nancy McWilliams (United States), Abel Fainstein (Argentina), Nancy Chodorow (United States), Gerhard Schneider (Germany). Jay Greenberg (United States). Raquel Berman (Mexico). David Tuckett (United Kingdom), Jane Kite (United States) and Donald Moss (United States).

List price: $33.99

Your Price: $27.19

You Save: 20%

Remix
Remove
 

18 Chapters

Format Buy Remix

Introduction

ePub

What is it like to be a working psychoanalyst? This is the question that set us on our quest. What do analysts experience in the course of meeting with their patients? How do they think about what they're doing?

What is it like for them to take account of themselves? To manage rough spots, to lose ground and try to recapture it? To feel appreciated and then to feel devalued? To feel betrayed? To try to find ways to do what's possible? To feel responsibility for someone's life while working to maintain your own balance? We decided to have discussions with a number of analysts from different parts of the world and from different theoretical orientations.

We asked various colleagues whom they thought would be good for us to interview. Our only criteria were that the people be English-speaking and open about their experience. Their recommendations worked out really well.

In the end, we invited about twenty-five people to meet with us, and twenty-one consented. After developing a set of interview questions, we shared them in advance with the interviewees to give them time to think about their responses and to recall significant moments from their practices. The questions appear in the Appendix, and while we generally followed that list, we did adapt it a bit in response to the flow of the interview. The meetings typically lasted two to three hours, and a couple of them stretched over four hours. We recorded them and had them transcribed. Our total transcribed text was 440,000 words, which we edited down to about a quarter of that length for this book.

 

Chapter One: Stefano Bolognini (Italy)

ePub

 

Stefano Bolognini is a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst in Bologna. He is past president of the Italian Psychoanalytical Society and current president of the International Psychoanalytical Association. He is the author of two hundred psychoanalytic papers published in several languages, of specialist books (Psychoanalytic Empathy; Secret Passages: The Theory and Technique of Interpsychic Relations), and of novels (Like Wind, Like Wave; Zen and the Art of Not Knowing What to Say).

 

Present:

Stefano Bolognini (SB), Kerry Malawista (KM), Bob Winer (BW)

We had travelled from Washington, DC, for the January 2013 National Meeting of the American Psychoanalytic Association in New York City—a four-hour train trip. Our plan was to interview Stefano Bolognini and several other European analysts attending the meeting. Early in our session with Dr Bolognini, we learned that he had made a four-hour round-trip commute, Bologna to Venice, for the entire duration of his training analysis. This told us a great deal about Dr Bolognini's determination to become a psychoanalyst and his passion for the discipline. And that passion still comes through: Dr Bolognini is eager to learn new ideas, apply them to his practice, and to fashion his own way of being an analyst.

 

Chapter Two: Richard Waugaman (United States)

ePub

 

Richard M. Waugaman, MD, is a training and supervising analyst emeritus at the Washington Psychoanalytic Institute. He is clinical professor of psychiatry and faculty Shakespeare expert for media contacts at Georgetown University. He has written two ebooks and more than a hundred and fifty articles, book chapters, book reviews, and book essays. Email: Richard.Waugaman@georgetown.edu.

 

Present:

Richard Waugaman (RW), Kerry Malawista (KM), Bob Winer (BW)

On a warm October Sunday afternoon, tape recorders on board, we drove to the suburban home of Richard Waugaman. This tall, gracious man with a warm smile welcomed us into his wood-panelled study. Settling into that room, surrounded by books on topics from Shakespeare to religion to psychoanalysis, it was clear that this was the workspace of a scholar. We had known Dr Waugaman as a colleague and fellow member of the Washington Center for Psychoanalysis, but you learn something new about a person when you see them in their home. We had a lively conversation about his start in psychoanalysis, and his sensitivity as a clinician was evident.

 

Chapter Three: Ilany Kogan (Israel)

ePub

 

Ilany Kogan is a training analyst at the Israel Psychoanalytic Society. She is one of the founders of Generatia, the Psychotherapy Centre for the Child and Adolescent in Bucharest, Romania. She worked as the supervisor of an IPA study group in Istanbul, Turkey. She is currently a supervisor of MAP, Munich, and AAF Aachen, Germany. Dr Kogan was awarded the Elise M. Hayman Award for the study of the Holocaust and genocide. ilanyk@yahoo.com

 

Present: Ilany Kogan (IK), Kerry Malawista (KM), Bob Winer (BW)

In the summer of 2013, we journeyed to Prague to attend the Forty-Eighth Congress of the International Psychoanalytic Association. While there, we interviewed prominent analysts from around the world, among them Ilany Kogan from Israel. Although Dr Kogan is practising in a world vexed with uncertainty and violence, she radiates warmth and curiosity about her clinical work and writing. Through her clinical stories, she expanded our understanding of what it means to work with patients in periods of terror and war.

 

Chapter Four: Rosemary Balsam (United States)

ePub

 

Rosemary H. Balsam, FRCPsych (London), MRCP (Edinburgh), first trained in medicine and psychiatry in Belfast, Northern Ireland. She is associate clinical professor of psychiatry at the Yale Medical School, staff member of the Department of Student Mental Health and Counseling there, and training analyst at the Western New England Institute for Psychoanalysis. She has a clinical practice in New Haven, Connecticut. She writes on gender, female development, and the work of Hans Loewald. Dr Balsam is the book review co-editor for the Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, and on the editorial board of Psychoanalytic Quarterly and Imago. She has written the book Women's Bodies in Psychoanalysis (Routledge, 2012). rosemary.balsam@yale.edu

 

Present:

Rosemary Balsam (RB), Kerry Malawista (KM), Bob Winer (BW)

We had travelled by train to the offices of the Western New England Psychoanalytic Society in New Haven, Connecticut, to meet with Rosemary Balsam. We were early for our appointment, so we toured the main floor of the historic building. The walls were filled with photographs of such analysts as Erik Erikson, Muriel Gardiner, and Hans Loewald. When Dr Balsam arrived, she greeted us warmly, and we heard the traces of a lovely Irish brogue. She shared her clinical experiences with us, particularly her interest in and understanding of female psychology.

 

Chapter Five: Joseph Lichtenberg (United States)

ePub

 

Joseph D. Lichtenberg is a member of the Washington Center for Psychoanalysis and Founder and Director Emeritus of the Institute of Contemporary Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis. He was President of the International Association of Psychoanalytic Self Psychology. He is the author of many papers and books, and the subject of a book edited by Sandra Hershberg and Linda Gunsberg.

 

Present: Joe Lichtenberg (JL), Kerry Malawista (KM), Bob Winer (BW)

We met Joseph Lichtenberg in his suburban Maryland home. He told us stories from his sixty-plus years as a clinician and innovator in the field of psychoanalysis, and then he took us on a tour of his extensive art collection. Everywhere the eye landed there was another magnificent painting, sculpture, or photograph—including photographs from Ansel Adams and Imogen Cunningham. With his lively, energetic mind and passion for learning, one would never imagine that Dr Lichtenberg was in his tenth decade.

Dr Lichtenberg's approach to patients seems a bit different from the approaches of the other analysts we interviewed. He wants to help his patients to feel better. There's a physicianly sensibility in this. We don't think we know another analyst who would devotedly spend five minutes on the phone with his patient every evening for two months to help her go to sleep, but it seemed to him common sense to do this. When she was able to say, “I don't think you need to do that any more,” he was pleased to stop. From his point of view, he wasn't fostering dependency, he was helping her towards mastery, and it apparently worked.

 

Chapter Six: Werner Bohleber (Germany)

ePub

 

Werner Bohleber, DPhil, is a psychoanalyst in private practice in Frankfurt am Main. He is a training and supervising analyst, and former president of the German Psychoanalytical Association (DPV). He is the editor of the German psychoanalytic journal Psyche. Dr Bohleber has authored several books and numerous articles. He was the recipient of the Mary S. Sigourney Award in 2007. WBohleber@gmx.de

 

Present:

Werner Bohleber (WB), Kerry Malawista (KM), Bob Winer (BW)

In Prague, we met with the distinguished German analyst Werner Bohleber. In his quiet, warm way, Dr Bohleber shared with us his many years of clinical experience and leadership in the development of psychoanalytic thinking in Germany. Dr Bohleber stressed that an analyst must understand a patient's history and memories in the cultural context in which they occurred. For him, that meant understanding how his clinical work is linked to Germany's Nazi history.

What are we to make of the limits of our understanding if we have not had a particular experience ourselves? In some situations, the gap is obvious—if we have never fought on a battlefield, never been raped, never been fired from a job we cared about, never lost a parent in childhood, never lost a child, we know that our patient's experience of having had this happen to them will always be, in important ways, beyond our ken. Dr Bohleber says that he only really knew about loss “from out of the box” until his son and his mother died (and we don't know which came first). We think that our own understanding of the nuances of parenthood were limited until we became parents ourselves. Dr Kogan gave us her example of this when she recognised the helplessness of her granddaughter in the face of danger. For sure, this doesn't mean that we can't usefully treat someone whose life experiences have been quite different from our own. But where an unfamiliar trauma of one sort or another has been a key part of the story, we know that our ability to “get it” will be incomplete, and it will be useful for us to pay attention to our patient's experience of that gap. We do the best we can, and usually we can do enough to be really helpful. And as some of our interviewees pointed out, there is also a back side to this: having shared the same traumatic experience may lull us into thinking that we understand our patient's experience better than we actually do. In this sense, there are advantages in being a stranger, including, for example, advantages in being from a different culture, so that, so to speak, nothing can be taken for granted.

 

Chapter Seven: Salman Akhtar (United States)

ePub

 

Salman Akhtar, MD, is Professor of Psychiatry at Jefferson Medical College, and training and supervising analyst at the Psychoanalytic Center of Philadelphia. He has served on the editorial boards of the International Journal of Psychoanalysis, Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, and Psychoanalytic Quarterly. His seventy-five books include sixteen solo-authored, as well as fifty-one edited books, in psychiatry and psychoanalysis. He has received numerous awards, the most recent being the prestigious Sigourney Award (2012) for outstanding contributions to psychoanalysis.

 

Present:

Salman Akhtar (SA), Kerry Malawista (KM), Bob Winer (BW)

In 2015, we returned to the New York meetings of the American Psychoanalytic Association where we met with our friend and colleague, Salman Akhtar, at his hotel. Dr Akhtar, always in demand as a speaker, had come to New Directions in Writing (a programme that the editors co-chair in Washington, DC) on several occasions, so we were prepared for an engaging and lively interview. He didn't disappoint!

 

Chapter Eight: Cláudio Eizirik (Brazil)

ePub

 

Cláudio Eizirik is a training and supervising analyst at the Porto Alegre Psychoanalytic Society, and a professor of psychiatry at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul. Dr Eizirik is the past president of the International Psychoanalytical Association, and the author of books, chapters, and papers on analytic training, analytic practice, the process of ageing, and the relation of psychoanalysis and culture. He received the Sigourney Award in 2011. ceizirik.ez@terra.com.br

 

Present: Cláudio Eizirik (CE), Kerry Malawista (KM), Bob Winer (BW)

The only interview we held via Skype was with Cláudio Eizirik. We had planned to meet with Dr Eizirik while in Prague, but because of a family emergency, he had to cancel his trip. We worried that Skype would not provide the intimacy of our in-person interviews. Once the online interview began, our fears were allayed. Dr Eizirik's warmth and intelligence easily came through the digital divide. He offered us a view of the ongoing changes in priorities and thinking a psychoanalyst must embrace to remain attuned to his patients.

 

Chapter Nine: Nancy McWilliams (United States)

ePub

 

Nancy McWilliams teaches at the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology at Rutgers and practises in western New Jersey. A former president of the Division of Psychoanalysis of the American Psychological Association, she has authored three textbooks, now in twenty languages, and edited the Psychodynamic Diagnostic Manual (2006, 2016).

 

We were fortunate to meet with Nancy McWilliams on two occasions. We had first interviewed Dr McWilliams when she attended a New Directions in Writing conference in Washington, DC. We were impressed by Dr McWilliams’ candour and her thoughtful insights about her clinical work. Then we lost the recordings of that interview. When we called to tell Dr McWilliams what had happened, she empathised with our distress—not her own inconvenience—and immediately agreed to sit for another interview. This is a snapshot of Dr McWilliams’ kindness and generosity as a psychoanalyst.

Dr McWilliams is one of several psychoanalysts we interviewed who have lost a parent in childhood. She imagines that being a therapist is a displaced way to take care of the wounded child in herself. What we found most remarkable was her resilience, her ability to make the most of whatever situation was dealt to her. The few months with the black housekeeper who was in her home after her mother's death might have been a footnote in another child's life, but Dr McWilliams was able to surmount her own loss to the extent that she could take this woman in, in a really helpful way. We heard how the recognition that she'd been taken in by a patient was always a crucial, treatment-altering moment for her. Making connections has been crucial in other ways, as she found a link to her housekeeper at Oberlin and actually searched for her years later, as she tried with Oliver Sacks to figure out why her father had been so difficult a person after his encephalitis lethargica, as she went to find, through Theodor Reik, a link to Sigmund Freud. Perhaps making connections has been a way of surviving broken ones.

 

Chapter Ten: Abel Fainstein (Argentina)

ePub

 

Abel Fainstein received his MD from the Buenos Aires University. He specialised in psychiatry. He received a Master in Psychoanalysis degree from the Universidad del Salvador-APA. Dr Fainstein is a full member, training analyst, and past president at the Argentine Psychoanalytical Association. He is professor in the Masters programmes in Psychoanalysis at USAL-APA and at the National University La Matanza. He is also past president of Federación Psicoanalítica de América.

 

Present: Abel Fainstein (AF), Kerry Malawista (KM), Bob Winer (BW)

From the moment Abel Fainstein entered the Prague Congress meeting space, his youthful enthusiasm and clear-eyed thinking were contagious. Although Dr Fainstein, an Argentinian analyst, was concerned that his limited English would not capture the breadth of his thoughts and feelings, his passion for the work was evident. What came through in all of Dr Fainstein's clinical work was his devotion to his patients.

Dr Fainstein spoke about the need to stay in touch with some of his borderline patients when he is away from his practice for a time. He'll either call them or send an email. His thinking is that these patients find it impossible to bear separations, can't hold you in their minds, and imagine that you can't hold them in your mind. We should have asked him to tell us what specifically he is afraid might happen without the contact. We can imagine that he might be concerned that the trauma of losing all connection might set the treatment back when he returns. While a healthier patient would be able to think about what the rupture was stirring up, and might even gain by mastering the loss, perhaps he is concerned that with these patients it's just a trauma with bad consequences. One of us once had a patient pull out a Polaroid camera from her bag in the last session before a break and take a picture of us that she could hold on to in our absence. She thought she wouldn't be able to remember what we looked like. We imagine that she would be holding on to not only the picture, but also the memory of taking the picture, then looking at it, and showing it to us. A little like a transitional object, since in a sense it was also her creation. It's been our experience that most of the time telling a patient that they can call us during a break if matters get out of hand will be sufficient, and it usually turns out that, thus reassured, they don't actually call.

 

Chapter Eleven: Nancy Chodorow (United States)

ePub

 

Nancy Chodorow is a training analyst at the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute; a lecturer in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School; and professor emerita of sociology at University of California, Berkeley. She has written on gender and sexuality, Loewald, the American independent tradition, comparative theory, and psychoanalysis and social science. Her most recent books include The Power of Feelings and Individualizing Gender and Sexuality. She is in private practice in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

 

Present: Nancy Chodorow (NC), Kerry Malawista (KM), Bob Winer (BW)

After making important contributions to the field of feminist sociology, particularly regarding mothering and gender, Nancy Chodorow turned to the study of psychoanalysis. Throughout our interview with Dr Chodorow, we heard the many ways in which her academic sensibility informs her understanding of patients. Her energetic, curious mind and incisive sense of humour have infused all her work.

 

Chapter Twelve: Gerhard Schneider (Germany)

ePub

 

Gerhard Schneider is a DPhil, Dipl-Psych, Dipl-Math. He works in a private psychoanalytical practice in Mannheim, Germany. He is a training and supervising analyst of the German Psychoanalytic Association (DPV). He was on the board of the DPV from 2006 to 2012, and president of the DPV from 2008 to 2010. Dr Schneider was chair of the IPA Psychoanalysis and Culture Committee from 2009 to 2013. His psychoanalytic interests comprise psychoanalytic technique and attitude, internalisation and identity, culture, as well as film and the visual arts. He has written numerous papers on these topics.

 

Present: Gerhard Schneider (GS), Kerry Malawista (KM), Bob Winer (BW)

Our final interview at the Prague Congress was with Gerhard Schneider. Dr Schneider came to psychoanalysis by way of mathematics—hardly the usual route for an analyst. We were taken with Dr Schneider's youthful spirit, and the openness and curiosity he brings to psychoanalysis, including the many ways he carries forward his thinking in the areas of culture, art, and society.

 

Chapter Thirteen: Jay Greenberg (United States)

ePub

 

Jay Greenberg, PhD is a training and supervising analyst at the William Alanson White Institute and editor of The Psychoanalytic Quarterly. He is co-author with Stephen Mitchell of Object Relations in Psychoanalytic Theory, and author of Oedipus and Beyond: A Clinical Theory. In 2015, he received the Mary S. Sigourney Award.

 

Present: Jay Greenberg (JG), Kerry Malawista (KM), Bob Winer (BW)

It was early June 2014 when we travelled to New York City to meet with Jay Greenberg at his East Village apartment. We had a lively dialogue with him in his spacious living room, only interrupted by breaks for bagels, lox, and coffee. Dr Greenberg has a rigorous and incisive mind, and he clearly enjoys grappling with the many issues of modern psychoanalysis, both theoretical and clinical.

In our response to the interview with Rosemary Balsam, we talked about the shift in the focus of psychoanalytic attention away from what we think, to how we think. Dr Balsam had said that she wanted to give back to her patients a sense of how their minds worked under all the different circumstances. Dr Greenberg describes here how he's much more interested in facilitating a particular attitude towards people's own minds, how they think, how they process experience, and he illustrates this with the case example of the young woman who couldn't hold on to her own train of thought. While Dr Chodorow spoke of the importance of helping patients to organise their historical personal narratives, the influences and events over the course of their lifetimes, here Dr Greenberg is focused on keeping track of how mental processes unfold in the short term, over a few days in the young woman's life. He described how she was able to interrupt her perseverant hatred of her boyfriend that weekend to make a link between what she was doing with him, to the discussion she'd had two days earlier in therapy about being her mother's agent. What seems to have been important to Dr Greenberg wasn't the specific connection between attitudes towards her mother and towards her boyfriend, but rather that she was paying attention to how her mind was working, and could use that to swim to shore. It's a different way of working.

 

Chapter Fourteen: Raquel Berman (Mexico)

ePub

 

Raquel Berman, PhD trained in clinical psychology, and has a degree in criminology. She is the founder, past president, and training director of the Mexican Association of Psychoanalytic Practice, Training and Research. She is a Fellow of IPTAR (NY). Dr Berman is head of the pilot project sponsored by the Mexican Ministry of Education for intervention and prevention of adolescent pregnancies. She writes on cultural context and psychoanalysis, daughter/father relationships, female development, introjected female machismo, narcissistic mothers and daughters, and female leadership issues in psychoanalytic organisations. bermanraquel@att.net.mx

 

Present: Raquel Berman (RB), Kerry Malawista (KM), Bob Winer (BW)

Upon meeting Raquel Berman at the Prague Congress, we were taken with her elegance, warmth, and quick mind. Dr Berman was born in Poland and emigrated to Mexico in 1940. As a result, Dr Berman is deeply attuned to the many ways that culture influences our patients’ lives, both internally and externally.

 

Chapter Fifteen: David Tuckett (United Kingdom)

ePub

 

David Tuckett is a fellow and training analyst at the Institute of Psychoanalysis, London, professor of psychoanalysis at University College London (UCL), and the director of UCL's Centre for the Study of Decision-Making Uncertainty. Trained in economics, medical sociology, and psychoanalysis, he is a former president of the European Psychoanalytic Federation (EPF), chair of the EPF's Comparative Clinical Methods Working Party, editor in chief of the International Journal of Psychoanalysis, and winner of the Sigourney Award for Psychoanalysis. His most recent book, Minding the Markets: An Emotional Finance View of Financial Instability, opens new psychoanalytically based ways of thinking about economics and finance.

 

Present: David Tuckett (DT), Kerry Malawista (KM), Bob Winer (BW)

David Tuckett, a London analyst since 1977, arrived for our interview in tennis whites, already dressed for his match later that afternoon. While the majority of psychoanalysts come to the profession from medicine, psychology, or social work, Dr Tuckett's start was in the field of economics, which may account for the discipline and precision he brings to his clinical work.

 

Chapter Sixteen: Jane Kite (United States)

ePub

 

Jane Kite is currently a training and supervising analyst at the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute, and a member of the San Francisco Psychoanalytic Center, where she completed her psychoanalytic training in 1993. Her main interests within psychoanalysis lie in the areas of character in analyst and patient, and the active relationships and influence among character, theory, and clinical practice.

 

Present: Jane Kite (JK), Kerry Malawista (KM), Bob Winer (BW)

We met with Jane Kite in New York at the 2015 National Meeting of the American Psychoanalytic Association. While currently practising in Boston, her California roots were apparent in her direct, down-to-earth way of interacting. And her college and graduate years focusing on literature were evident in her language and lyrical way of thinking.

In our response to Dr Lichtenberg's interview, we briefly discussed some ideas about “therapeutic action”, the profession's set of theories about how psychoanalysis does its work to help people. For much of the first century of psychoanalysis, the idea was that change came about through the patient's taking in the analyst's interpretations. In the decades leading up to the new millennium, we developed a general consensus that there were other aspects of the analytic process that were worth paying attention to. While there have been diverse ways of formulating those extra-interpretive aspects, there would be a fair agreement that being in a situation where you work hard every day to make sense of yourself with someone else who is also really committed to that process, someone capable of listening closely, without a concealed agenda or prejudgements, someone who can take you into their mind, would have to be a novel and useful experience, apart from the specific understandings reached. Dr Kite put it this way: “Particularly for those of us, and maybe it's for most of us, with real difficulties with the significant figures in our childhoods, just having a deep relationship with someone who really thinks about you, responds to you, understands you in an entirely different way, I think, is a life-changing experience.” This isn't our offering what Dr Greenberg was complaining about, “caring relationships” as a substitute for intellectual authority. Most of us would say that our job isn't about being caring, it's about our trying to understand our patients “in an entirely different way”. And we would add to Dr Kite's characterisation (as we imagine that she would also) that we are helping our patients to join us in that process, to become better able to interrogate their own minds and lives.

 

Chapter Seventeen: Donald Moss (United States)

ePub

 

Donald Moss, PhD has been in private practice in New York City for over forty years. He is the author of Hating in the First Person Plural (2003), Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Man (2012), and At War with the Obvious (in press), and over fifty articles. He is on the editorial boards of Psychoanalytic Quarterly and the International Journal of Psychoanalysis.

 

Present: Donald Moss (DM), Kerry Malawista (KM), Bob Winer (BW)

In September 2014, we travelled by train to New York City to meet with Don Moss. We entered his modern Greenwich Village office, and there in the middle of the room was an oversized black leather couch. Attached to the back of the couch, where the patient's head would lie, were blue fibreglass wings—the kind you would expect to see on a fast sports car. It wasn't the last time that we discovered that Dr Moss has a distinct way of thinking and a mind of his own.

It is a curious circumstance that when people remember the striking moments from their analyses, they are often times when the analyst was in one way or another “human”, and these are generally non-interpretive events that in one way or another express the analyst's interest in the person. From the analysts’ point of view, these would probably not be the most memorable occasions in their work—for analysts, those tend to be moments when an understanding unexpectedly crystallises: “Oh, that's what that's about!” But the patient's response reflects something Dr Moss said, “I think they are alert to you as a person more than you as a speaking person.” There was such a moment for Dr Moss, in his first session with his first analyst: “At some point as I was telling him about this crashing stuff, he kind of closed his eyes as though to indicate it was practically unbearable how much this was, and it was a very, very sympathetic gesture. And I thought, yeah, this is what I want.” Dr Greenberg, in another first session, said to a patient, “Your life seems grey,” which seemed to touch the patient very deeply, and led to the patient deciding to work with him. Obviously, such moments can't be contrived, they will only feel real if they're spontaneous. A patient, narcissistically damaged and quite stuck in his treatment, had just bought a new car. His analyst, with some enthusiasm, asked to see it, and they went outside to check it out. The patient felt sceptical about the enthusiasm, thought it a bit forced and out of character for his analyst, but he appreciated at that moment how hard his analyst was trying to make contact with him, even against his own grain, and it stuck as a very significant moment in the analysis.

 

Details

Print Book
E-Books
Chapters

Format name
ePub
Encrypted
No
Sku
BPE0000219501
Isbn
9781781817551
File size
3.73 MB
Printing
Allowed
Copying
Allowed
Read aloud
Allowed
Format name
ePub
Encrypted
No
Printing
Allowed
Copying
Allowed
Read aloud
Allowed
Sku
In metadata
Isbn
In metadata
File size
In metadata