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CHAPTER SIX: The Propositional Method for the study of psychoanalytic concepts

Norbert Freedman Karnac Books ePub

Marvin Hurvich and Norbert Freedman

The Propositional Method to be described in this chapter is being presented as a way of generating another kind of evidence for the study of psychoanalytic concepts. Propositions become vehicles for framing this other kind of evidence, for facilitating new clinical observations, and for offering a structure for comparative psychoanalysis. It is both propositional and generative.

The Method to be described is a procedure to highlight the key features of psychoanalytic concepts, through a reliance on clinical observations and clinical generalizations, and an effort to decrease metapsychological language and formulations. It is intended to facilitate a systematic study of psychoanalytic concepts, and their application to the psychoanalytic process.

Concepts are not only elastic, changing over time, but they are also sources of controversy and conflict. They are statements evoking concordance, spelling out what we are thinking, doing, and inferring clinically, and they are sources of discordance. What we look for is a method that offers a genome that can encapsulate both the commonality and the diversity of thought, and then distil it so that it becomes available for analysis within a single frame. With the method in hand, we hope to find a coherent path towards confirmation or disconfirmation, thus enhancing coherence without succumbing to the search for universals.

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CHAPTER SEVENTEEN: The cycle and the spiral during the re-symbolizing phase: the erotic transference, the extraordinary countertransference, and the preservation of the analytic process: session

Norbert Freedman Karnac Books ePub

Norbert Freedman and Rhonda Ward

Session 257 represents a stellar moment in this specimen of working through. It is an unambiguous symbolizing hour, marking a return to symbolization and the completion of the transformation cycle. But it is more than this, for it not only contains the highest level of symbolization in this cycle (as reflected in the peaking of referential activity measures), but it also contains the highest levels of non-integration (as reflected in low measures of interactional synchrony). Thus, this session not only completes the cycle but in its peaks and troughs has the properties of a spiral.

Furthermore, this session contains within its structure all the phases of this transformation cycle, that is, a phase of symbolization, desymbolization, and re-symbolization. In the broadest sense, this replication allows us to translate and revisit the specific way-stations encountered in this specimen. The symbolizing phase of this session reveals paradoxically a downward slope and with it the induction of regression reverberating in the transference (Chapter Fourteen); patient-induced and analyst-induced enactments, resulting in a moment of mutual enactment, reflect a peak of desymbolization and paradoxically initiate the upward slope (Chapter Sixteen); and finally, a nodal moment at the end of the session results in a reversal and a return to symbolization (Chapter Fifteen).

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CHAPTER THIRTEEN: Method and findings: the case of Ms Y: the patient and her analyst within the context of a recorded psychoanalysis

Norbert Freedman Karnac Books ePub

Norbert Freedman, Richard Lasky, and Rhonda Ward

At the time of this research, Ms Y was a professional woman in her thirties, and a mother of a three-year-old boy and a newly adopted infant daughter. She and her husband were residing in a suburban community in the US Midwest, enjoying a secure income. About six years prior to this study, she began a twice weekly psychotherapy and in her second year of treatment converted to a four-times-a-week psychoanalysis.

According to the analyst, the tone of the treatment shifted dramatically during the first two years of the analysis. The initial transference, one of non-engagement and affective withdrawal, developed into a sadomasochistic transference and then into one that was explicitly erotic. This intensity, one of over-engagement, seemed to have been a defence against the initial schizoid-like position, though, as the treatment progressed, acute neurotic conflicts also surfaced. It was at this stage that we entered the study of the treatment process.

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Chapter Five: Breakdown and recovery in the analysis of a young woman

Andrew B Druck Karnac Books ePub

Aaron Thaler 1

Breakdown phenomena and related symptoms are common features in psychoanalytic treatment dealing with severe disturbances of continuity and ego-integration. The first part of this paper traces ideas about breakdown and recovery mainly through review of Winnicott's work in this area. The second part describes a period of breakdown that occurred during an advanced stage in the analysis of a very courageous young woman, Ms R. This period, which Ms R came to refer to as “my breakdown,” involved two years of reliving continuous, almost unbearable anxiety, disorientation, and pain which seemed to have been carried from her early childhood. The description focuses especially on a series of transference dreams produced over the course of one year that reflect Ms R's working through these powerful early anxieties on the way to important growth, symbolization, and recovery.

Although it is outside the scope of this paper, readers may look into illuminating papers by Clare Winnicott (1980) and Judith Mitrani (1998) who also applied Winnicott's ideas to examples of breakdown phenomena arising in the course of psychoanalytic treatment.

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CHAPTER FOUR: Representations of the therapeutic dialogue and the post-termination phase of psychotherapy

Norbert Freedman Karnac Books ePub

Jesse D. Geller and Norbert Freedman

The hope and expectation that the ending of an effective therapy will be a prologue to further growth and development occupies a central role in psychoanalytic theorizing. The primary aim of this chapter is to present preliminary findings of an empirically-grounded perspective on the hypothesis that patients will continue to build upon what they accomplished during the course of therapy after termination if they rely on enduring and benignly influential representations of the therapeutic dialogue to serve adaptive functions.

Some of the questions we have been thinking about are:

•  How do memories of a relationship with a former therapist exert their influence on a person's current functioning?

•  How do former patients continue to build upon what they accomplished during therapy after termination?

•  What roles do the experiences of separation and loss play in shaping a patient's post-termination involvements with representations of the therapeutic dialogue that were constructed during the course of therapy?

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