Her Hour Come Round at Last: A Garland for Nina Coltart

Views: 51
Ratings: (0)

This title is a celebration of the life of Nina Coltart, who had a career in medicine and psychoanalysis and was author of bestselling titles in psychotherapy The Baby and the Bathwater and How to Survive as a Psychotherapist. The book contains a large number of contributions by specialists in the field including Michael Eigen, Estela Welldon and Christopher Bollas.The book offers a long-overdue tribute to Nina Coltart (1927-1997), who was a leading figure in the Independent Group of the British Psychoanalytical Society and, indeed, one of the greatest psychoanalysts of the twentieth century. In addition to providing a comprehensive assessment of Coltart's life and work by patients, supervisees, friends, family members, and readers, the editors have compiled all of her hitherto unpublished or uncollected writings, making this book a capstone of her legacy to psychoanalysis.

List price: $35.95

Your Price: $28.76

You Save: 20%

 

51 Slices

Format Buy Remix

CHAPTER ONE: Nina-isms

ePub

Susan Budd

Iwas one of Nina Coltart’s analysands.

It is difficult to write about a relationship that is both so intimate and yet so remote; for example, I never, either during my analysis or after it, ever called her “Nina”. But it is inevitable that, during a long training analysis, the patient comes to know the analyst pretty well, and the training analysis is the central part of an intensive apprenticeship by means of which we are turned into analysts and members of the same profession. After I had finished my analysis, I used to write to Nina, and go to see her from time to time, and I took over from her as the analytic consultant to a psychotherapy training in Birmingham. During these encounters, and in the latter stages of my analysis, she told me quite a bit about her attitude to our rather odd vocation, and I have tried to record here some of her various aphorisms and what I think she meant by them. (I did think of calling this piece “The wit and wisdom of Nina Coltart”, but I can well imagine just how indignant that would have made her.)

 

CHAPTER TWO: Ways of knowing

ePub

Muriel Mitcheson Brown

Iknew Nina for a good many years, from 1975 until her death, and I am delighted to have the opportunity to write about her. I can say that with confidence, although I am aware of a degree of hesitation in my claiming to know her. I feel I knew her well, although there is much that I did not, and do not, know about her life, and I did not have an ordinary social relationship with her. “Knowing” someone has a context, and the defining context of our relationship was that I was in analysis with her for ten years. I was first a patient, an analysand, and then, after a break of a year, I went back to her for my training analysis. After qualifying as a psychoanalytic psychotherapist, I moved out of London and then saw nothing of Nina for many years, although we maintained a sparse correspondence. It was more than a decade after the ending of our analytic relationship that we again met, in a professional context, and had what might be called some ordinary conversations. So my knowing Nina is particular, constrained, and boundaried, but also curiously intimate.

 

CHAPTER THREE: Nina and the parcel

ePub

Alex Douglas-Morris

Ifirst met Nina in 1970, when I was twenty-three, and I still see that date as the most significant in my life. From that day, everything changed.

Nina invited me to talk about myself and my family, listening carefully, and when I had finished, she said, “You have presented me with a wonderful parcel, in exotic wrapping paper and richly coloured ribbon, but the contents are muddied and distorted”.

In many ways, over the next twenty-seven years, we sat in her room with her Vermeer postcards, black and white rug, and gentle lighting, unpacking that parcel. We worked through some parts, and of those contents that could not be removed she named them and said, “See them as unwelcome friends. Stand at the top of your staircase as they make their way up towards you and warn them, 'You can stay for ten minutes and no more’”.

Seeing Nina was always on a professional level, but, over the years, our friendship developed and began to flow into other areas. My mother knew Gill (Nina’s sister), Nina met my two sisters, my husband David, and our two daughters … so, I embraced Nina into my family.

 

CHAPTER FOUR: A Buddhist way of seeing

ePub

Barbara Hopkinson

Imet Nina Coltart in Spring 1968 and our paths crossed like this.

In the mid-1960s the marriage of a relative was in a bad way. The husband’s infidelity had affected his wife to such an extent that her previously confident, bubbly personality had changed to one of depression and apathy. I watched the whole family deteriorating for some time until, quite suddenly, between one month and the next, there were distinct signs of joie de vivre returning. At an appropriate moment, I enquired as to the cause, and was told that my relative had been given the name of a wonderful doctor in Hampstead who was showing her how to deal with her despair in a new way.

Something made me ask the name of this remarkable person— it was Nina Coltart. The name stuck in my mind. I think I knew unconsciously that I might need her one day, as my second marriage was becoming a repetition of the earlier disaster.

Several years later, I had reached the end of the road: I found Dr Coltart’s number and rang her. In those days she answered her own telephone, and I was lucky enough to find her at home. She made it clear that she was not willing to accept new patients, having more than she could manage already. Desperation made me persistent, and eventually she agreed to see me.

 

CHAPTER FIVE: A one-off visit

ePub

Kathleen Murphy

Ifirst met Nina Coltart about 1980, when my doctor referred me to her, as a one-off visit. She quickly put me right on one point on which my thinking was at fault. She came across as a very kind person and one felt at ease with her.

At some point, possibly a couple of years later, and I cannot now remember how it started, after I had written to her, and she replied with a long friendly letter, and to that I replied, and, hence, a long and interesting correspondence began, and I looked forward to her letters coming, and to quickly responding.

Some time after this her housekeeper was taken ill, and I offered to do the vacuuming, if it would be of any help to her. I felt her life and her work were of so much help to others that to try and fit in housework seemed such a waste of Nina’s precious time. So I did the vacuuming and a few small errands (for which she paid me handsomely!), and I hope was of some help to her.

I might add that her housekeeper accomplished far more than I ever did!

 

CHAPTER SIX: A whole attitude to life and work

ePub

Michael Brearley

Many people influence our work and thinking. Often we can forget, or not fully allow ourselves to know, how much someone has influenced us. And one reason for this can be that someone’s ideas become so central to our thinking that we lose touch with their source in that other person. Nina Coltart was an influence on me of this kind, one who was so close that I risk taking her for granted. It is also hard to know what comes directly from her, quotably, as it were, and what comes more indirectly but pervasively by means of assimilation and identification from a whole attitude to life and work. In just such latter ways, I think, we also take things in from our parents and our analysts.

Nina was the supervisor of my first training case. This was a difficult but ultimately rewarding experience, and her help with it, for an inexperienced candidate, was immense. The help was also, as I came to see more clearly with hindsight, subtle, tactful, and given with a light touch. Nina was able to take a back seat, refraining from forcing stuff on me beyond my capacity to take it in. She knew that too much information would overload and confuse me, and too much criticism would inhibit me. She recognized the centipede in me—if one asked a centipede to think about the movement of each leg, it would fall into a ditch. Like General Kutuzov in Tolstoy’s War and Peace, she refused to get drawn into meretricious ventures for personal glory, and had faith not only in the process of psychoanalysis, but also in me and the patient.

 

CHAPTER SEVEN: Charisma

ePub

Mary Twyman

Charisma is a word often used—sometimes overused—in describing outstanding figures in their fields. However, I came across a recent gloss on the term from Chris Patten, currently Chancellor of Oxford University, Nina Coltart’s alma mater. He defined charisma as a combination of grace and authority. This, I think, captures exactly those qualities that Nina brought to her thinking, her writing, and her relationships with friends and colleagues … and in my case (and in Mike Sinason’s), to those she taught. We were both fortunate to have Nina as a supervisor for our first training cases. For myself, the foundations of my nascent identity as a psychoanalyst were firmly and robustly nurtured by her teaching, and my gratitude for the quality of her attention to my early stumbling efforts with my patient remains constant.

“Attention” is the title of the paper she gave as the Arbours 20th Anniversary Lecture, and is a lasting marker of her interest in, and support of, the Association.

 

CHAPTER EIGHT: Nina Coltart the consultant: hospitality conditional and unconditional

ePub

Pina Antinucci

The home of the Sybil

In the photograph of Nina Coltart I retain firmly impressed in my memory, the expertise and acumen of the diagnostician go hand in hand with her hieratic demeanour; a kind of mystique, which she played on, with wisdom and self-irony, as she declared that her stance was in the service of the in(tro)duction to the mysteries of the unconscious. The neophyte—the prospective patient—had to go through a momentous initiation process, as he was ushered into her consulting room, to meet the priestess of psychoanalysis.

I have used the terms “mystery” and “neophyte”, employing a language that connotes an initiation process, and this is what I recall my encounter with her to have meant—an initiation into psychoanalysis.

I encountered Dr Coltart the consultant from a variety of perspectives, as an analysand-to-be, as a practitioner receiving and welcoming her referrals, and, later on, even as a member of the Directorate of the London Clinic. In these different capacities, I had the opportunity to reflect on her philosophy and attitude regarding assessment interviews. There are many themes I could and will pick up, many things I could say, the most important of which, however, is her capacity to capture the person’s need to find an internal place to belong to, and a language of his or her own. This is certainly what she elicited from me, as I am more and more aware, as I circle back to that encounter repeatedly in the course of time. And I will start from there.

 

CHAPTER NINE: My Nina

ePub

Maggie Schaedel

My Nina belongs to no one else! I am, of course, paraphrasing the words of one of Winnicott’s patients when I emphasize that the Nina I knew and remember, and about whom I am about to write a brief personal memoir, may be also recognizable to others who contribute to this volume, all of whom will have their own unique and personal Nina Coltart.

I was assessed and referred by Nina for my training analysis over a quarter of a century ago. Seventeen years later, I found myself in a crowd at the 100-day memorial ceremony at the Amara-vati Buddhist monastery where I met, for the first time, her family: her sister Gill with children and grandchildren with all the resemblances, and the extended tribe of colleagues, supervisees, and ex-patients. Some of us have corresponded since and met at various memorial events, including a series of lectures now held in her name at the Institute of Psychoanalysis. I recall the first such memorial lecture, which I chaired in March 1998, organized by Arbours Association and held at the Amadeus Centre in West London. The subject: “Psychoanalysis and religion”; the two speakers: David Black and Joseph Berke; and the discussion was of matters close to Nina’s heart. At the time, her death was still a raw pain for many of us, and while the ideas were important and interesting I felt the event was empty, desolate, and lacking a sense of Nina’s (absent) presence.

 

CHAPTER TEN: An “internal supervisor”

ePub

Elizabeth Wilde McCormick

Nina was my clinical supervisor for my private psychotherapy practice from 1989 until 1994. I owe her much. She lives on as an “internal supervisor”, and I often hear her voice saying things such as, “Are you really sure about that my dear?”, or “What an extraordinary story!” I also draw on her as a strong role model, for a lot of my therapeutic work today is supervision of experienced practitioners from different orientations.

I wrote to her initially to ask if she would take me on because I had heard of her work and I wanted to understand something of the Freudian approach to psychotherapy, which had been missing from my training. My background was in social psychiatry, humanistic and transpersonal psychology, and cognitive analytic therapy. At our first meeting, she asked me to explain what it was I wanted from her. I must have done this adequately, because she beamed and her eyes sparkled as she said, “Yes, dear, no one really understands sex and power as well as Freud!”

 

CHAPTER ELEVEN: Baby Peter

ePub

Mary Leatt

Sunday 3rd Aug. 1997

Dear Gill and David,

I am writing to you to let you know how sad my family was to hear that Nina Coltart had died.

My husband read a reference to her obituary in the Guardian yesterday. We tracked down the issue of 28th July and there it was in black and white …

We first met her when she needed a baby to study on a weekly basis for a year, while studying psychoanalysis. A nursery mother asked me if I would allow her to come and see Peter, our son, born 1961. I did not realise that there was to be more than one visit and was a bit taken aback when told this. We then lived near Gospel Oak Station, Parliament Hill Fields.

Our domestic circumstances were a little fraught. We had a mortgage on a narrow Victorian house, the top floors let on a controlled rent. My husband’s first wife had died of diabetes shortly after the war while he was in Egypt before being demobbed. On return, he had a baby son, 16 months!

 

CHAPTER TWELVE: Homage to a valued friend

ePub

A. H. Brafman

The death of our dear Nina Coltart took me by surprise. I was aware that she was facing serious health problems, but somehow I did not expect she would die. I have found that many others were equally shocked and pained. I heard of different emotions, but above all, most people felt immense sadness at the loss of such a valued person.

I am pleased that our Society has decided to pay this tribute to Nina tonight. She well deserved this. Personally, I welcome this opportunity to describe my picture of her and recount some of the experiences we shared. Nina was an exceptional person and I was fortunate to count her as a friend and colleague. She always seemed full of life, facing people and tasks with endless concentration and seriousness. Her smile was irresistible and her laughter was warm and ample, almost childish in its spontaneity and innocence. The predominant impression was of a person determined to deal with the task in hand: friendly and encouraging, but not one who indulged in wasting time or effort. She could not suffer fools and she expected people to be honest and respectful as a matter of course. Privacy was as much a right as it was a duty. Discussions involved issues, never the private life or motives of the person concerned.

 

CHAPTER THIRTEEN: A recollection of friendship

ePub

Nina Farhi

Icontemplated Nina as she sat, body erect, neck curved, eyes closed, a handsome and imposing woman, in the midst of a throng of people. And I watched these people as they moved eagerly towards her, then hesitated, then, somewhat bewildered, moved away.

She had made herself the centre of gravity within her complete inner stillness. She had also created a space around her that was hers and hers alone. Utterly personal.

This was her preparation before lecturing. Always in touch with her uncertainties, aware of her need to gather her resources, while deriving her power through the meditative practice of emptying herself of her Self.

However, I was very shortly to be chairing her talk (I now forget which), and it was time to rouse her. Lecturing, I know, was the world which she both loved for the freedom it gave to live out her mastery of her subject and for the opportunity it presented to perform with that charismatic presence, which, nevertheless, was always bounded by a silken skein.

 

CHAPTER FOURTEEN: My pen pal

ePub

Gill Davies

In truth, I only met Nina once, and that was in the late 1980s. I was struck by her appearance and demeanour. She was handsome, but seemed quite austere—the kind of person who, I felt strongly, would do things meticulously and correctly. She struck me as a particular type of English woman, upper middle-class, clearly well read, radiating personal authority, neither a taker nor receiver of liberties. Faced with such a seemingly perfectly-formed person, one wondered if there might be possibilities for “difference” just below the surface. Was she what she seemed to be?

Some years later, I had become the managing director of Free Association Books. I wrote to our authors to explain my arrival and to outline some of my intentions in relation to the administration of their “affairs” (at the time, paying their royalties was our most pressing need), my approach to managing the list, as well as the kind of publications I was seeking to contract. It was the usual kind of letter a publisher sends out when joining a company. I did get a reply from Nina, short, polite, wishing me well, and so on. Things might never have developed further from that first exchange of letters, but one day I wrote asking if she could advise me on a synopsis for a book that an author had sent me.

 

CHAPTER FIFTEEN: The silent listener

ePub

Mona Serenius

Inever actually met Nina Coltart in person. Nevertheless, I came to regard her as one of my most intimate friends. She was, for me, a role model and a mentor, ever since 1994, when our correspondence first began, up to her tragic death in June 1997. Even now, when so many years have passed, I can feel her powerful influence on me and on my life. I also have reason to believe that in the last two and a half years of her life she considered me a close friend and came truly to enjoy our correspondence. In the beginning, she ended her letters formally: “Kind regards. Yours sincerely, Nina Coltart”. One of her last letters ends, “Yours ever, with much love, Nina”.

How, then, did this intimate relationship come about?

To begin with, Nina Coltart was certainly not prepared to become so involved with me. I can think of several reasons why. She had been asked by the Editor in Chief of the International Forum of Psychoanalysis, Jan Stensson, to read and comment on the first draft of my article “The silent cry. A Finnish child during World War II and 50 years later” (1995). She showed rather clearly that she was irritated and reluctant to do so, especially since she was under the misapprehension that I, the author of the draft, was a psychoanalyst by profession—quite understandable, since I was supplying my article to a psychoanalytic journal. My article did not include a discussion on psychoanalytic theory, nor did the draft include a reference list. I had been in psychoanalysis for six years and had read a fair amount of psychoanalytic literature by the time I wrote the article, but obviously did not think it appropriate for me to theorize on the subject.

 

CHAPTER SIXTEEN: Nina Coltart: a person of paradox

ePub

Stuart A. Pizer

Nina Coltart understood, wrote about, and embodied paradox. As she affirmed with respect to Buddhism (which she practised for decades): “For a Westerner to proceed healthily on the spiritual path which may lead to self-transcendence, and loss of 'the fortress of I’, there needs must exist already a stable, strong sense of personal identity” (1992, p. 167). Thus, as a psychoanalyst, Coltart remained firmly grounded in the foundations of classical theory, and a crispness of technically practised formulations and interpretations, while also bringing us with her into the realm of ambiguity, mystery, silence, faith, patience, awe, and even joy in working “in the dark”.

She advocated rigorous preparation for clinical work and a lifelong dedication to sharpening our conceptual focusing skills. Without a doubt, Nina was secure in her discipline, strictly mindful of her technical frame and acute in her clinical observations. But, at the same time, she recognized that psychoanalysts, along with their necessary responsibilities and their requisite tools, need also to embody and bring into their consulting rooms a larger moral, humanistic, and spiritual perspective. As she succinctly put it, “treatment” begins with how we “treat” another person.

 

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN: Cometh the hour

ePub

Brendan MacCarthy

When, in 1994, I wrote as President to Nina Coltart expressing the hope that she would reconsider her decision to resign from our Society, I ought to have known better. In her polite but firm reply, it was clear that the lady was not for turning. This brief exchange of letters epitomized Nina’s character— strong, lucid, and fearless. Having lost both parents in a wartime rail crash, as they were travelling to visit their two daughters, evacuated to Cornwall, it would not be unreasonable to think that Nina, then aged twelve, had a special awareness of what it was like to be alone. For all her extrovert manner, and her many friends and colleagues, she was always a very private person, always alone.

Her tragic childhood must have contributed to her forceful and highly independent style. Independent by nature and independent by group.

Nina managed her life in a very efficient way and, when crippling arthritis and intractable pain spoiled her enjoyment of her retiring years, she took control of her own death with no attempt to conceal what she had done. She was strongly averse to the cover-up, never one to turn a blind eye.

 

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN: School friends

ePub

Janet Mothersill

Ifirst met Nina in junior school, Kinnaird Park in Bromley, Kent, and we became friends there. Her father was a much liked GP in the area. Sadly, after 3–4 years there, war was declared and my father, a senior civil servant, was ordered to move his office north from London to Lancashire. We happened to be on holiday in Devon at the moment, so, at very, very short notice, it was arranged for me to go with my cousin to a boarding school in Dorset, Sher-borne School for Girls. When the tragic train accident occurred in 1940 and both parents were killed, Nina and Gill (who had been evacuated to the family’s recently purchased Cornish home) were placed in the care of their grandmother. She knew of my friendship with Nina, so contacted my parents to find out where I was at school and arranged for Nina to join me in the same House at Sherborne. We remained good friends and went on one camping trip together, but otherwise lived too far apart to see much of each other in holidays.

 

Load more


Details

Print Book
E-Books
Slices

Format name
ePub (DRM)
Encrypted
true
Sku
9781780498041
Isbn
9781780498041
File size
0 Bytes
Printing
Disabled
Copying
Disabled
Read aloud
No
Format name
ePub
Encrypted
No
Printing
Allowed
Copying
Allowed
Read aloud
Allowed
Sku
In metadata
Isbn
In metadata
File size
In metadata