41 Chapters
Medium 9781782204343

15 - Battered Women Lose their Minds

Karnac Books ePub

Cecilia Muñoz Vila & Nubia Torres Calderón

The material presented here comes from a three-year research project conducted by the Psychology Faculty of Javeriana University, Colombia, which took place in a shelter for battered women and their children, in Bogota. The authors of this chapter were supervisors of the project and thesis directors and were responsible for a research group of five students. The dissertations included the presentation of three individual psychotherapeutic process recordings, which were supervised and analysed using the meditative review method described by Bion (1963, pp. 99–100).

In total, we observed 40 women whose abusive relationships since childhood and currently with their spouses were described in detail in these protocols. As the stories of these battered women were reviewed, the research team had the impression that they were entering a territory of human misery and dehumanization that was common ground for these women, their aggressors, and their families, as well as for the neighbourhood they lived in. An atmosphere of despair and rage could be sensed by the research group, as if the psychic weave of the chronicles permeated the way they listened to the distressing stories born out of the presentations. The same thing happened when we reviewed the material for a second time, long after the original discussion.

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12 - Degrees of Entrapment: Living and Dying in the Claustrum

Karnac Books ePub

Pamela B. Sorensen

In his evocative and difficult book, The Claustrum (1992a), Donald Meltzer offers an investigation and description of claustrophobic phenomena. I suggest that these phenomena might be viewed on a continuum from relatively ordinary, with potential to yield to the developmental momentum of object relations both internal and external, to so severely disturbed that the life of the mind hardens into a death of the soul. To illustrate this continuum, I use two films: Coraline, directed by Henry Selick (2009) and based on the 2002 novella by Neil Gaiman, and The Talented Mr. Ripley, directed by Anthony Minghella (1999) and based on the 1955 novel by Patricia Highsmith. These films characterize the predicament at either end of the continuum; they show how escape from the non-life of the claustrum is made possible at the more benign end and how the possibility of exit is foreclosed in the most extreme form of pathology. Studying the films through a psychoanalytic lens brings into focus the critical factor in determining the degree of entrapment suffered by the self caught in a claustrophobic world, devoid of emotional intimacy and filled with dread.

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1 - Doing things Differently: An Appreciation of Donald Meltzer's Contribution

Karnac Books ePub

Margaret Rustin

The title of this chapter is intended to draw attention to aspects of Donald Meltzer's ways of working which characterized his practice as a psychoanalyst and which, I think, are important in appreciating his originality. Of course, such observations arise from one's own particular perspective and may not be in accord with the recollections or understanding of others, and it is obvious that doing things differently—which I am interpreting, in part, as Meltzer's characteristic commitment to doing things in his own way—means that there will be conflicting views about whether such differences have a good outcome. This chapter is not going to address the institutional conflicts that were part of the historical picture—in fact, I am sure that I am quite ignorant of much of this history. Instead, I hope to describe things that I have observed both in the years of some personal contact with Meltzer and in reading his books and papers over time, things that have struck me as enlightening and interesting, or sometimes maddening and frustrating features of his work, and which arise from his personal style as a writer and analyst. Perhaps, also, I am going to be doing something rather different from other writers who address his ideas, since their focus is more usually on his clinical contributions.

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Medium 9781855752405

3. Development is beauty, growth is ethics

Meltzer, Donald Karnac Books ePub

Clara Nemas

When I received the invitation to participate in this celebration of Donald Meltzer’s work, I thought it would be a good idea to make it into an invitation to explore. The penumbra of associations surrounding the word “exploration” seemed to me to involve romantic ideas of unknown, wild, and virgin lands, a compass in my hand, a survival kit. I imagined myself as part of a team with all my colleagues throughout the world with whom, though I may not have actually met them, I would be sharing this project of exploration. I am not sure whether this made me feel more accompanied, but it did give me a measure of courage, not only for the task at hand, but also for overcoming my shyness in this regard, which instead of easing only increased when I tried to “go beyond the prelude”.

In the process of trying to find the North on my compass, a starting point from which to orient myself, the subject of ethics came into view. The subject of values—their detailed scrutiny, their development in the psychoanalytic process, the challenge they represent—is one that constantly interests and concerns me in my work as a psychoanalyst. In my personal and professional history, I have had analysts, supervisors, and teachers whose close contact with Meltzer’s ideas has had an impact on me, and these ideas, in turn, extend and enrich the theories of Klein and Bion. Their presence in my training, the reading of Meltzer’s work, and personal contact with him in recent years have been important factors contributing to my way of thinking about an ethical position in psychoanalysis. All this has influenced my choice of the contents of this chapter; however, beyond any possible explanation, once I had thought of this subject it ensconced itself in me, insisted, and gained its place in the expedition party, with the result that ethics is to be the name of our journey through a territory whose boundaries are not very well defined.

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3 - Point–Line–Surface–Space: on Donald Meltzer's Concept of one- and two-dimensional Mental Functioning in Autistic States

Karnac Books ePub

Suzanne Maiello

“In the early days, there was great pleasure in doing what my teachers taught me to do and finding out that they were right…. But then…there comes a time when you cast off from the pier and into the open sea and are on your own…”

Donald Meltzer, “A Review of My Writings” (2000)

Dimensionality and the human mind: Edwin A. Abbott and Donald Meltzer

Towards the end of the nineteenth century, Edwin A. Abbott published a satirical narrative with the title Flatland—A Romance of Many Dimensions (1884). This modest little book did not achieve great success at the time. It was discovered almost forty years later after Einstein's formulation of the theory of relativity and the introduction of the concept of time as the fourth dimension of three-dimensional space. The story is about a two-dimensional world referred to as Flatland. Its inhabitants are geometric shapes. The main character is a square. He receives the visit of a sphere who takes him to three-dimensional Spaceland. The revelations of Spaceland open the Flatlander's mind to new and unexplored lands. His research is oriented both forwards towards increasing dimensions, and backwards to Lineland and Pointland.

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