49 Slices
Medium 9781855753204

21. Methodology and Research in Psycho-pathology (1951)

John Rickman Karnac Books ePub

MR Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen: while acknowledging the honour in being asked to open this Symposium on ’ Methodology and Research in Psychiatry’ I cannot conceal from myself, and therefore should not conceal from you, a certain feeling of whimsical humour in the situation, for I have never read a l book on Methodology, so far as my memory serves me, nor extended by a hair’s breadth man’s horizon in the field of Psychiatry; the opener should at least have done one or other, But since Royal Commissions accept the testimony of nonexperts in the topic they are considering perhaps the Medical Section may extend an equal clemency. However, if I have myself added nothing to Psychiatry I have been upon occasion a participant observer in the work of some of those who have, and though I do not pretend to express their august opinions I cannot deny my debt.

For convenience this short paper will be broken up into sections which may be given catchwords, viz. (a) Number, (b) Pattern matching, (c) ’No research without therapy, no therapy without research!’, (d) Summary. Number

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20. Reflections on the Function and Organization of a Psycho-Analytical Society (1951)

John Rickman Karnac Books ePub

I. Introduction

NEXT to a total lack of contributors and of subscribers nothing is more dreaded by an editor than that the organization he serves should establish a precedent that addresses from the chair and such-like speeches for an occasion should be published in his Journal. Knowing this both as an editor and as an ex-president of one of the Branch Societies of the International Psycho-Analytical Association (the British one) I have tried to avoid embarrassment to the editor and I hope to readers by removing from the addresses from the chair given in July, 1948, 1949 and 1950 all references to current events which do not have a general bearing, and am placing before the readers of this journal some reflections which, though based on the experience of only one Society, may perhaps have a little significance for all.

It is proper at this point to say that to remedy such defects as are apparent to me in the three original reports I have revised them and in places added to them considerably. Naturally I offer them with hesitation because they are discursive and do not derive exclusively from that area of research which it is the profession of psycho-analysts to explore.

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10. On the Nature of Ugliness and the Creative Impulse (1940)

John Rickman Karnac Books ePub

1. Introduction

The study of Æsthetics presents difficult problems and the solution of them is made more arduous if the field of observation is unduly constricted. So long as Æsthetics is confined to an examination of Beauty research is likely to prove as sterile as is a study of Behaviour which confines itself to the single factor of pleasure. Human psychology made greater progress when it gave recognition to the factors of mental pain, anxiety and guilt; it would therefore seem prudent to accord more significance than is commonly done in the literature to these disturbing but powerful forces in our aesthetic inclinations, and to see whether the underlying impulses of destructiveness, which give rise to these painful feelings, do not provide a substratum to Art as they do to everyday life. It is even possible that by representing in a neutral medium the interplay of creative and destructive instincts the artist can help us to comprehend a better solution of the conflicts that press within us than we could do for ourselves unaided, with nothing interposed between us and our passions but the medium of our unstable flesh. The artist provides more than a momentary consolation for our miseries; he goes behind the veil which serpens the source of our dejection and brings back evidence for the triumph of the creative impulse over the forces of destruction; he can do this not by the denial of pain but by facing it with a determination to master it. If we are to learn anything about Æsthetics we must be ready to follow the path he takes,

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19. The Factor of Number in Individual- and Group-Dynamics (1950)

John Rickman Karnac Books ePub

THE term ’Group-Therapy’ can have two meanings, and it is well to keep the distinction clearly in mind. It can refer to the treatment of a number of individuals assembled for therapeutic sessions, or it can refer to a planned endeavour to discover (and so make accessible to the understanding, and thus control) the forces which operate in the participating group.

The first is primarily a therapy of individuals (group behaviour and its study being a secondary but important consideration); the second is primarily a therapy of a group (individual behaviour and its study being a secondary but important consideration). These two may blend.

The first is found in several forms which we can name according to where the dynamic emphasis is laid. One kind is based on general explanations of the nature of neurotic trouble; this may be called didactic group therapy. The physician may, however, be less concerned with explanation and more interested in giving comfort; this may be called reassurance group therapy. The comfort and companionship may be carried far, that is, the aim may be to produce such a degree of happiness in the group as to deserve the name companionate group therapy; or the technique may be that of catharsis by a sort of public confessional in which case we may speak of it as confessional group therapy (without confusion with the other and older use of the word ’confessional’). There is another kind of group therapy in which transference interpretations are given of the behaviour of individuals and by inference of the group, called analytical group therapy,

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13. Disruptive forces in group relations: war as a makeshift therapy

John Rickman Karnac Books ePub

About twenty-five years ago an even then fairly well known psychoanalyst giving advice on how the patient should be introduced into the analytic situation said among other things that he should be reassured that what he said would be treated as confidential and that as he (the analyst) did not drink there was no risk of his breaking secrecy by talking in his cups.

Such crude reassurances are surely never or but seldom given today even by those who are beginning a freelance career in self-taught analytic therapy. The reason why the instance given seems to us now so shocking is also a measure of our appreciation of what a good research and therapeutic instrument was thereby imperilled—that remark sullied the future clarity of the transference situation. (In parenthesis we may reflect that in the quarter century the most important events in the field of research into the psychology of the individual have been in the direction of clarifying our ideas on the transference situation.)

With that said by way of preface, I want to refer to a remark I heard when a (commissioned) group therapist opened a series of group therapy sessions with a new batch of soldier patients in a Military Hospital. He said among other things “You can say what you like here, for within these four walls we are not in the Army!”

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