Medium 9781912567454

Sexual States of Mind

Views: 94
Ratings: (0)

A ground-breaking psychoanalytic study on sexuality which maintains its originality today, forty-five years after its first publication. The book is a revision of psychoanalytic theory, starting with the work of Freud himself and including Melanie Klein's contributions on the early Oedipus Complex and the Depressive Position. But more than that, it is a metapsychological study of sexuality which provides a different perspective from more well-known ones that relate simply to a descriptive or behavioural point of view. In differentiating adult sexuality from infantile sexuality and polymorphism and perversion, taking unconscious phantasy and the notion of the primal scene as the pivotal point, Meltzer proposes a unified theoretical and clinical model which has proved of particular help in the field of the psychopathology of addictions and perversions.

List price: $25.99

Your Price: $20.79

You Save: 20%

Remix
Remove
 

24 Chapters

Format Buy Remix

1. The Psychoanalytical Method and its Theories

ePub

In a volume of this sort I can hardly aspire to present a comprehensive picture of what must surely be the most complex problem in science, one to which nearly every branch of science and the humanities may be expected to make some contribution, each unique according to its methods and materials. While interests and training as biologist, doctor and psychiatrist may extend my range, I must yet admit that my only field of special knowledge and wide experience is in psychoanalysis. I wish you to see in the apology a reference to the narrowness of psychoanalysis, its methods and its discoveries.

Since the value of the findings of any scientific discipline can only be judged on the basis of an understanding of its methods and materials, I wish to outline briefly the history of the psychoanalytic method for investigating the workings of the human mind. By differentiating between psychoanalytical discoveries and psychoanalytic theories, one can adopt a reasonable position of judgement as to the validity of what follows under two distinct categories: (a) evaluation of the reliability of the data for the reconstruction of the developmental history of individual patients; (b) critical judgement on the quality of thought which has entered into the construction of theories about child development from these clinical findings.

 

2. Childhood Sexuality and the Oedipus Complex

ePub

In Chapter 1 I have outlined the historical development of the psychoanalytic method for investigating the human psyche, in order to help in evaluating the validity of the reconstruction of infant and child development which is now to follow. The main points I made were that the method is unique in its chief instrument – the analysed mind of the psychoanalyst; in its data – the development of the transference; in its experimental design – the use of interpretation as a variable in the two-person relationship; and in its theoretical basis for reconstruction – the concept of the repetition compulsion. But I also stressed that it pays for this uniqueness by the narrowness of its special field of study, namely unconscious object relations.

In these next three chapters I have elected once more to follow historical chronology – the evolution of psychoanalytic theory about development – rather than ontogenetic chronology, for indeed in a sense the two are necessarily inversely related to one another. I plan first to discuss the scientific discovery by Freud of childhood sexuality and of the Oedipus complex as a genital conflict. In Chapter 3 I will outline the discoveries relevant to the pregenital development, especially from weaning onward, much of which is implicit in the work of Karl Abraham. In Chapter 4 I will present the reconstruction of the earliest post-natal period, from birth to weaning, along with the revision of our conception of later development which it has made necessary. This is very largely the outcome of the researches of Melanie Klein and of still more recent work with psychotic adults and children.

 

3. Developmental Phases and Organisational Series

ePub

In the last chapter, which dealt almost exclusively with the work of Sigmund Freud, I showed how his painstaking adherence to the psychoanalytical method of investigation gradually, indeed over the entire span of 45 years of work, led to serial revision of concepts of the development of personality. While his training and era disposed him to think in terms of energy (instincts) and their control or modification (vicissitudes), his discoveries with patients confronted him with evidence about structure and organisation. Psychoanalysis, as a theoretical branch of psychology, finally took its present form in 1923 when, with the publication of ‘The Ego and the Id’, Freud gave specific significance to the term ‘meta-psychology’ as the special province of psychoanalysis, examining the human personality from four viewpoints: its development (genetic aspect), its structure (earlier called the topographic aspect), its mechanisms of operation (dynamic aspect) and its disposition of psychic ‘energy’ (economic aspect).

 

4. From Pain-and-Fear to Love-and-Pain

ePub

In the three previous chapters I have described first, the psychoanalytic method in its excellence and limitations. Next, I traced Freud's early discoveries about infantile sexuality and his theories about the development of children particularly in so far as it forms the background for pathological symptoms in adult life. In Chapter 3 I outlined the sudden and unexpected development, largely due to the work of Freud and Abraham in the post- World War I years. This transformed psychoanalysis from a method for investigating and treating nervous illness into a special branch of psychology, metapsychology. A new, multi-dimensional and coherent conception of personality development took shape in terms of developmental phases and organisational series.

But I ended with a note of semi-apology for the living child who could not be found among the ponderous theories. I did however promise to remedy this defect by describing the developments between 1926 and 1946 which grew out of the direct analytic work with children, and especially the work of Melanie Klein with very young children.

 

5. The Clinical Phenomenology of Narcissism

ePub

The sources of information at our disposal – published works, letters, biography, society minutes, autobiographies and memoirs – do not, of course, separate out from the life of Freud the particular thread of his investigations of clinical psychopathology nor do the particular papers given in reference lend themselves to classification as ‘clinical’. Yet this is a very distinct category of Freud's scientific work and an area of relation and interaction with colleagues. Surely in the period we are studying, embracing the later World War I period and its aftermath, the problems of the organisation, development and preservation of psychoanalysis as a scientific discipline and as a ‘movement’ (whatever that means) occupied – or even overshadowed – much of his thought, as it found its way into print. Particularly the conflicts with Adler and later Jung dominate such papers as ‘The history of the psychoanalytic movement’ and the ‘Wolf-man’ case history.

Jones relates how, to relieve Freud of some of this burden, the ‘Committee’ was formed in 1912, but the disruption of communication during the war, not to mention Freud's own nationalistic enthusiasm at its start and despair toward its finish, probably prevented this group's protective mission from realisation.

 

6. Clinical Approach to the Perversions

ePub

In the previous chapter I attempted to show one current of advance in Freud's grapplings with problems of clinical psychopathology during the decade 1917–27 (expressed in terms, of course, of publication dates). We can generally assume considerable lag between writing and publication early in this period, for instance the ‘Wolf-man’ history was written in 1914 but published in 1918 and is therefore really more contemporaneous with ‘On narcissism’ than with ‘A child is being beaten’. And yet the papers of the post-war period which I wish to discuss seem to hark back to the clinical experience of the ‘Wolf-man’ very often, although not explicitly stated. But that this case made a great impression upon Freud cannot be doubted, for as late as 1937 he was still referring to it.

The whole line of papers from ‘A child is being beaten’ (1919) through ‘The economic problem of masochism’ (1924) to the paper on ‘Fetishism’ (1927) seems to have been inspired by the work with the ‘Wolf-man’. It is well to remember that the patient lived in Vienna after the war and had his paranoid breakdown there in 1926. What I propose to try to demonstrate is that Freud took hold of the concept of masochism very firmly in relation to the clinical phenomena of the case itself but kept losing it in later years during the transition in his notational system from the libido theory to the structural theory.

 

7. Identification and Socialisation in Adolescence

ePub

Surely, it will be said, and rightly, the analytic consulting room, in its heat of infantile intimacy, is not the place to study the social behaviour of adolescents. But it can, through clarification of the internal processes of motivation and expectation, identification and alienation, throw a special and unparalleled light upon social processes to aid the sociologist, educator, psychiatrist, and all those persons of the adult community whose task it is to preserve the boundaries of the adolescent world and foster the growth and development of those still held within its vortex.

Our times reveal more clearly than other historical periods the truth of the existence of an ‘adolescent world’ as a social structure, the inhabitants of which are the happy-unhappy multitude caught betwixt the ‘unsettling’ of their latency period and the ‘settling’ into adult life, the perimeter of which may not unreasonably be defined, from the descriptive point of view, as the establishment of mating and child rearing. From the metapsychological point of view of psychoanalysis, stripped as it is of social and moral evaluation, this passage from latency to adulthood may be described most forcefully in structural terms, whose social implications this chapter is intended to suggest.

 

8. The Emergence from Adolescence

ePub

It is evident that psychoanalysts use the term ‘adolescent’ as they should use all technical terminology, in a metapsychological sense particularly to signify a global state of personality. While we understand it to be statistically related to the years following pubescence, we should not limit ourselves to a chronological vertex but rather to consider that, like any developmental organisation, adolescence is likely to persist until it is abandoned either by progression or by regression. When the regression is to a strongly pathological organisation of earlier development, the differentiation of these two outcomes may be very obvious, but when it is a return to a fairly well organised latency period as the status quo ante, the distinction between progress and regression may be lost to direct observation and only become apparent in the course of psychoanalytical work. This proves to be the case with many people who come to psychoanalysis for professional motives. It is too glib and disrespectful to write off these motives as rationalisations; the professional aspects, the admiration for psychoanalysis as a science, the wish to utilise its findings or to contribute to its development are often quite genuine. This is to be differentiated from the approach of people suffering from the disorders of pseudo-maturity to which I have referred elsewhere (1966, 1967) in which there is a serious impediment to adolescent development as the consequence of a spurious or even fraudulent approach to the adult world. In referring to people who regress to latency rather than progress to adult organisation, and in mentioning the covert quality of this step backwards, I imply no fraudulent motive, but only a retreat to mechanisms by which peace was purchased earlier in the face of oedipal suffering, now resorted to again in the face of new suffering in the realm of sexuality.

 

9. The Introjective Basis of Polymorphous Tendencies in Adult Sexuality

ePub

This chapter is an attempt to bring some greater order into the area of sexual theory by helping to differentiate the basis of adult polymorphous sexual tendencies from the imperious incursions, of pathological significance, which contaminate the adult sexual life. They come from areas of polymorphous and perverse infantile sexuality. In order to do this in a way that will have immediate validity for the consulting room, I plan to discuss both the technical and theoretical problems separately and then relate them one to the other.

Technical problems

It would be a plausible deduction from the psychoanalytic theory of personality development that sexual behaviour does not need to be taught, but derives its form from instinctual drives modified by identification processes. Sexual education, therefore, has no precise place in the psychoanalytical method, which aims to bring about integration and differentiation in psychic structure in order that learning by experience may take place. In all our patients, regardless of age, the clinical material presents us with the task of assisting in the differentiation of levels in psychic life. Our business is the analysis of the infantile transference with the co-operation of the more advanced and most mature mental structures.

 

10. The Genesis of the Super-Ego-Ideal

ePub

Rather than pause to explain the elision of superego and ego-ideal in the title, let us press on to the substance, hoping that by the end its significance will have become clear.

Freud took an evolutionary view of psychic structure and nothing in our scientific findings since his time militates against his thesis. The ego has evolved from the id by specialisation of function and the super-ego-ideal has evolved from the ego in like manner. Nothing speaks against this view, but what is the evidence for it ? The answer is surely, ‘the totality of the psychoanalytical process!’ It is the phenomenon par excellence of our study, but as our method concerns itself particularly with psychopathology through study of the disturbances in the evolution of the transference, we are prone to overlook the wealth of evidence it lays before us regarding psychic health and growth. It is true that in our methodological preoccupation with the disturbances of the transference we operate on the assumption that by removing the obstacles to growth and by blocking divergent pathways of development we make it possible for the vital processes to push on unaided. But while cogent in theory, this often does not happen in fact. Something akin to what Freud called ‘psychic inertia’ so opposes growth that an input of vitality in the form of analytic determination is required during the working through periods.

 

11. Adult Polymorphous Sexuality

ePub

Much of the task before us in this chapter has already been done or adumbrated in Chapter 9, but a certain amount of tracing of implications is still required. It is of particular interest that the psychoanalyst seldom hears much about his patient's adult sexual relationships, since the transference situation draws to it the associations related almost exclusively to the infantile and perverse aspects of sexual behaviour and phantasy currently contaminating the patient's sexual life. For this reason, adherence to the primary rule ensures a tactful preservation of the privacy of the adult love life of the patient, and therefore the privacy of his partner.

Recognition of this fact relieves the analyst of part of the pressure of certain countertransference anxieties, of intrusiveness and meddling, while also placing him in a position to recognise that dutiful reporting of sexual activities by a patient is almost certainly a breach of the primary rule involving an acting-in, and possibly -out, of the transference, in which the sexual partner is being made to represent an excluded part of the infantile self. The analyst need never worry about the content of information being withheld by the patient regarding his sexual behaviour, since the moment such withholding takes place the content itself is no longer to the point: the behaviour of withholding itself needs to be the focus of investigation.

 

12. Infantile Polymorphous Sexuality

ePub

We are approaching the whole area of sexuality from the point of view of structural theory, claiming that as a tool of investigation it facilitates differentiations which are more germane to the psychoanalytic method of research. We have taken Freud's idea of the primal scene (in phantasy) augmented by the insights of Melanie Klein into the importance of the phantasies, or, in psychic reality, the facts, about the inside of the mother's body, as the basic sexual situation, or set. We are classifying states of mind related to sexual activities according to the participation of the self in this primal situation.

The first problem we must broach here, which did not arise in the chapter on adult sexuality, is the problem of identity, or rather the sense of identity. It is clear that the adult sense of identity derives from the introjective identification with parental figures and is fundamentally bisexual, although an individual's integration may not have proceeded so far as to enable bisexuality to be experienced and acknowledged.

 

13. Infantile Perverse Sexuality

ePub

Having traversed the ‘good’ and the ‘naughty’ in regard to infantile sexuality, we now come to the area that psychoanalysis knows most about, again because the transference tends naturally to be preoccupied with its endless writhings. As explained, adult sexuality tends automatically to be excluded from the analytic material since it is simply not involved in the transference, while with adult patients the ‘good’ and ‘naughty’ infantile aspects induce so little guilt or other disturbance as to be only touched-on in passing. It is from the small children that our information about infantile polymorphism comes, mainly early in analysis when all the attempts at seduction of the analyst are run through before the transference rhythm really settles down and work commences.

But as perverse sexuality is involved in every aspect of psychopathology, our analytic nets are for ever dredging up references to it. Again we must remember that we are investigating and classifying states of mind, not behaviour, and our point of reference is the ‘primal scene’, as described by Freud and augmented by Melanie Klein. We must now make an additional augmentation. A sixth figure enters upon the scene: the ‘outsider’, the stranger to the family, the enemy of parental creativity, of familial harmony, of love; the evil one, the cynic, the spoiler, the carrier of the mark of Cain.

 

14. Terror, Persecution and Dread

ePub

This chapter is intended as a contribution to the exploration of the paranoid-schizoid position in object relations, as defined by Melanie Klein. It is the result of analytic work employing the deeper understanding of personality made possible by her discoveries of the role of splitting processes in the formation of psychic structure and the mechanism of projective identification in the dynamics of object relations.

A spectrum of psychic pains is subsumed under the category of paranoid anxieties, the study of which has been begun in detail by other authors, e.g. confusion by Rosenfeld, catastrophic anxiety by Segal and Bion, nameless dread by Bion. Less well-defined terms such as hopelessness, despair, helplessness, must also be dealt with, but this paper is limited to three: terror, persecution, and dread. I will attempt to define these mental pains metapsychologically and to show their place and interaction in the analytical process, employing a case presentation to show them at work.

 

15. The Origins of the Fetishistic Plaything of Sexual Perversion

ePub

As with the differentiation between ‘depressive’ as an adjective denoting a quality of mental pain (depressive anxieties) and as a term denoting an organisation of mental pathology (depressive illness), so we must distinguish the uses of the term ‘perverse’ in regard to sexuality. I wish to use it to indicate those erotic phantasies or activities in which the inflicting of mental or physical suffering or injury is central to the excitement – perverse sexuality. But I also wish to indicate an organisation of such tendencies into a structural category of clinical psychopathological symptoms, sexual perversion. It is doubtful whether one would wish to use the term to describe a person as a ‘pervert’ except as a shorthand notation.

In the use of the term to denote a type of sexuality we are emphasising the impulses and its consequent phantasy and activity, neglecting the other metapsychological areas which contribute to the final manifestation. But in speaking of ‘perversion’ as a type of symptom, we are including all four metapsychological areas. The complexity of the problem was acknowledged by Freud in ‘A child is being beaten’ and ‘The economic problem of masochism’ in relation to structure (the role of identification) and economics. But the category of object choice was not specifically modified beyond the statement of the Three Essays. I now wish to examine the possibility that the categories of narcissism versus object-relations do not adequately account for the nature of the object of excitement in perversions nor for the peculiar quality of the excitement and socialisation observed in these symptoms.

 

16. On the Distinction Ambisexual: Bisexual

ePub

A cogent case is often made for the contention that the disagreements amongst psychoanalysts are purely semantic, and that the true approximation of our language to our comprehension would cause this conflict to melt away like the dew beneath the rising sun. A more compelling position would tend to assume that our semantic confusions reflect quite accurately our conceptual ones. Under this thesis, further research in our understanding of mental phenomena would need to precede linguistic investigation.

It is probably the psychosexual area of psychoanalysis which best illustrates this dilemma, due to the twofold origin of our technical vocabulary, half from psychiatry, based on description, half from metapsychology, based on interpretation. Systematic clarification of our language in respect of sexuality is one of the subsidiary aims of this volume, but one which can only be achieved semantically after conceptual clarification. This course has already been followed in several instances of differentiation: polymorphous from perverse; adult from infantile; descriptive ‘homosexual’ from metapsychological ‘homosexual’; dependence from passivity. A further step must now be taken to distinguish between ‘bisexual’ as a metapsychological and biological concept on the one hand, and ‘ambisexual’ as a descriptive term in psychopathology to which we may hope to give metapsychological precision. In order to do this in depth, both terms must be given substance in relation to clinical phenomenology.

 

17. Work, Play and Sublimation

ePub

As it was Freud's method to advance and retreat in his special capacity for deductive and inductive operation and also to hold on to terms and give them new meanings, the teaching of psychoanalysis always poses a problem in semantics which only an historical approach can resolve. Surely much of the schismatic trend within psychoanalytic circles is based on poor scholarship, one might say, in regard to notation. Another aspect of the problem is that terms, hallowed by antiquity, in our restricted sense, take on a life of their own and refuse to lie down and be buried in history once their usefulness has passed.

This chapter is largely elegiac in regard to the honoured term ‘sublimation’. Although it was used poetically in Draft L (1897) (‘phantasies serve the purpose of refining the memories, of sublimating them’), it takes place as a technical term beginning with ‘A case of hysteria’ (1905):

The perversions are neither bestial nor degenerate in the emotional sense of the word. They are a development of germs all of which are contained in the undifferentiated sexual disposition of the child, and which, by being suppressed or by being diverted to higher, asexual aims – by being sublimated – are destined to provide the energy for a great number of our cultural achievements. (S. E., VII, p. 50)

 

18. Structural Revision of the Theory of Perversions and Addictions

ePub

It now remains to summarise and order the findings and theories related to perversions and addictions in the light of the structural revision of the general theory of adult, infantile and perverse sexuality. The chapter on ‘Terror’ contains implicitly a theory of the metapsychology of addictions which must now be made explicit, while some of its social implications will be traced later in the chapter on ‘Tyranny’. Equally, the chapter on the nature of the objects of perversion contains implicitly a theory, which needs relating to the theory of addictions, while some social implications will similarly be examined in the chapter on ‘Pornography’.

Let us start by a brief definition: Addiction: a type of narcissistic organisation of the infantile structures which weakens and may totally displace the adult part of the personality in control of behaviour. Its central structure consists of the ‘good’ child parts having turned their dependence away from the parental figures toward the ‘bad’ part of the self, initially as a retreat from depressive pain into the paranoid-schizoid position, but specifically as a defence against the experience of terror in relation to the mother's inside babies which have been killed due to possessive jealousy, oedipal rivalry and fear of weaning. The internal structure of the addiction consists of an enslavement to cynical modes of thought which desecrate the good objects and either expel them (manic) or bury them in the faeces (repression). Essentially dependence upon good objects is replaced by passivity toward bad parts of the self, in a mood of despair. In the process of this surrender, all mental pain related to the hope–hopelessness continuum is obviated. It is essential that the term passivity be reserved for this pathological mode of relation, and not be confused with the many variants of dependence, reliance, trust or helplessness which enter into good relationships, both adult and infantile.

 

Load more


Details

Print Book
E-Books
Chapters

Format name
ePub
Encrypted
No
Sku
BPE0000286385
Isbn
9781912567461
File size
381 KB
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