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CHAPTER SIX Developmental evolution within the works of Donald W. Winnicott: psychic and transitional space

Kavaler-Adler, Susan Karnac Books PDF

CHAPTER SIX

Developmental evolution within the works of Donald W. Winnicott: psychic and transitional space

ccording to Rodman (2004), Winnicott’s biographer, Anna

Freud wrote to Winnicott that his “transitional object” concept had taken the world by storm. The transitional object is an external other that serves a mothering role in facilitating development.

The transitional object is not a symbolic representative of the primal holding mother (the symbiotic or chthonic mother), but is the symbolic representative of Winnicott’s transitional phase mother, equivalent to the mother of separation in the American separation–individuation stage parlance of Mahler (1971). The transitional object represents the mother who is more separate from the child than the early infant-holding mother (the mother of the primal “unity”), and is symbolic of a mother who is affectively present and attuned to the child. However, unlike the early holding mother who, through the reverie of psychic fantasy, has merged with her helpless and totally dependent infant, the transitional object mother does not symbolically fuse with the child and, ideally, she imposes no personal or narcissistic demands on the child. By being more separate from the child than the holding mother, the transitional object mother can relate to the child’s developmental needs through words and vision without having concrete sensual body contact (see Wright, 1991). Whoever occupies the role of the

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CHAPTER TEN Loneliness in dialectic with solitude

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CHAPTER TEN

Loneliness in dialectic with solitude

n 1963, Melanie Klein was writing her paper, “On the sense of loneliness”, at relatively the same time that Winnicott (1958) was writing his paper, “The capacity to be alone”, which outlined the prerequisites for solitude. In Rodman’s (2004) Biography of D. W.

Winnicott, he points out this intriguing synchronicity. In doing so, he inspired me to look at the biographical and clinical contrasts pertaining to loneliness and solitude, with the accompanying dialectics that paint a theoretical and clinical chiaroscuro.

As we look at the interplay between Klein’s thinking on “loneliness” and Winnicott’s thinking on solitude as the “capacity to be alone”, we look at a dialectic that represents the larger domain of psychoanalytic thinking. It is the domain of the whole school of intersubjective thinking of self psychology and relational psychoanalysis, and it is related to Winnicott’s “transitional” phenomena, in contrast and in interaction with the whole classical domain of psychoanalysis, the domain which has seen its “depth” in terms of journeys into the intrapsychic interiors of human beings. This perspective began with

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Chapter Five - Facing the Ghost of Failures in Mothering. Regret Evolving into Love and Play: The Case of Anastasia, Part I

Kavaler-Adler, Susan Karnac Books ePub

CHAPTER FIVE

Facing the ghost of failures in mothering. Regret evolving into love and play: the case of Anastasia, Part I

In the course of an analysis, profound psychic transformations evolve as psychic regret is consciously confronted. This involves the opening up of depressive position capacities for viewing things increasingly from another's subjective perspective, for differentiating that perspective from one's own, and for facing one's insatiable hungers, referred to as “greed” by Klein (1957). The case to be offered illustrates how psychic regret made conscious can lead to growth in self-agency and self-reflection, to an awareness of yearnings for intimacy, to an awareness of psychic and interpersonal space, as well as to the awareness of the phenomenal aliveness in “just being together”. Other insights into an awareness of one's own needs and motivations arising through regret involve awareness of one's own grandiosity, and of one's sense of missing something within that is revealed to be an early connection with the primal other: the pre-Oedipal mother. Cognitive capacities for differentiation are enlarged as self-reflection is expanded through the grief-laden insights that come with regret. In this way, defensive distancing from both internal and external object relations connections can be retraced to the past in terms of a repetition of early disruption in object relations bonding with the mother. The past and present can be sorted out. There is also a new growth in a capacity for containment of instinctual impulses, as well as for compassion for the other, and a sustaining of a more full whole object capacity to love.

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Chapter Four - Explicating and Utilising the Phenomenological Theory

Kavaler-Adler, Susan Karnac Books ePub

Winnicott (1965, 1975) wrote about the formation of a “true self” in a human being who begins life in a dyadic relationship with a mother, who hopefully can offer “primary maternal preoccupation” to facilitate her infant's developmental growth into the state of having a “self”. In dialectic with this, Klein offers us a phenomenological theory that can be fleshed out in developmental terms, but which also offers us the poignancy of a theorist who has lived very close to the existential nature of human suffering. In fact, Klein's phenomenology looks at moral growth through the lens of a human heart that bears its imprint on psychic experience.

Klein's phenomenological theory is one of two primary psychic state positions, each having its own unique constellation of defences, modes of object relations, and psychic structure. In The Matrix of the Mind, Ogden (1986) has done an admirable job of offering clinical examples for the different mental experience of the two positions. Prior to his work, Segal (1964) gave clinical examples in An Introduction to Melanie Klein. My own books, The Compulsion to Create: Women Writers and Their Demon Lovers (Kavaler-Adler, 1993a), The Creative Mystique: From Red Shoes Frenzy to Love and Creativity (Kavaler-Adler, 1996), and Mourning, Spirituality and Psychic Change: A New Object Relations View of Psychoanalysis (Kavaler-Adler, 2003b), also offer such clinical examples. Here, I wish to merely make some fundamental observations about the importance of Klein's psychic position theory and its independence from a metapsychology based on the death instinct.

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Chapter Six - Developmental Evolution within the Works of Donald W. Winnicott: Psychic and Transitional Space

Kavaler-Adler, Susan Karnac Books ePub

According to Rodman (2004), Winnicott's biographer, Anna Freud wrote to Winnicott that his “transitional object” concept had taken the world by storm. The transitional object is an external other that serves a mothering role in facilitating development. The transitional object is not a symbolic representative of the primal holding mother (the symbiotic or chthonic mother), but is the symbolic representative of Winnicott's transitional phase mother, equivalent to the mother of separation in the American separation–individuation stage parlance of Mahler (1971). The transitional object represents the mother who is more separate from the child than the early infant-holding mother (the mother of the primal “unity”), and is symbolic of a mother who is affectively present and attuned to the child. However, unlike the early holding mother who, through the reverie of psychic fantasy, has merged with her helpless and totally dependent infant, the transitional object mother does not symbolically fuse with the child and, ideally, she imposes no personal or narcissistic demands on the child. By being more separate from the child than the holding mother, the transitional object mother can relate to the child's developmental needs through words and vision without having concrete sensual body contact (see Wright, 1991). Whoever occupies the role of the transitional object operates symbolically as the transitional phase mother, if the real mother of that phase of development is inadequate. Thus, in Winnicott's thinking, the transitional object is a functional role assumed by psychoanalytic psychotherapists.

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Chapter Eight - The Grief of Regret Allowing Commitment in Marriage in the Man: The Case of Oscar

Kavaler-Adler, Susan Karnac Books ePub

CHAPTER EIGHT

The grief of regret allowing commitment in marriage in the man: the case of Oscar

When we look at parallel worlds in relation to men and women, we look at Sarah, and now at Oscar. Both found a deep sense of spiritual and emotional commitment to their marriages through the transformational crucible of existential regret, which was precipitated by an extramarital affair. Both faced their mortality in the threatened loss of their primary loved one, their spouses. Both found the deep primal connection at home after looking for it with an outside other. Both suffered an agony of grief over the potential loss they provoked by their own betrayals. Both faced themselves through looking into the cold visage of their own betrayals and finding their injured hearts crying out to love. Both came to cherish the marriages they had formerly sought to escape from. Both found themselves through finding the other, and also found the other through finding themselves. In finding a home within themselves through the grief process, they found a home in their marriages and reowned their sexuality in that sphere of love.

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Chapter Eight - Winnicott's Contribution to the Understanding of Mirroring as a Developmental Process: The Klein–Winnicott Dialectic within

Kavaler-Adler, Susan Karnac Books ePub

In 1967, Winnicott wrote his paper, “Mirror-role of the mother and family in child development”. In doing so, he brought a primary aspect of developmental functioning to the awareness of psychoanalysts. Freudian and Kleinian analysts (who thought solely in terms of interpreting unconscious impulses or fantasies to make them conscious through interpretation) would greatly resist the developmental perspective that Winnicott was introducing into the British Psychoanalytic Society. Analysed by a Kleinian analyst, Joan Riviere, Winnicott would constantly find his ideas and their developmental focus on the environmental other, the mother and, later, the analyst, rejected and misunderstood. In America, Freudian analysts who congregated as medical elite in the conclave of the New York Psychoanalytic Institute, were even more rejecting (Rodman, 2004).

Anna Freud was more sympathetic, as shown through Winnicott's correspondence with her, cited by Rodman (2004) in his biography of Winnicott. She validated Winnicott's contribution of the idea of the “transitional object” to the world of analysts at large.

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Chapter Six - The Interaction of Negative Transference and the Mourning of Regrets in Psychic Transformation: The Case of Anastasia, Part II

Kavaler-Adler, Susan Karnac Books ePub

CHAPTER SIX

The interaction of negative transference and the mourning of regrets in psychic transformation: the case of Anastasia, Part II

In the second part of the case of Anastasia, a combination of intrapsychic and external object relations dynamics is demonstrated. More specifically, this second part illustrates that when primary negative transference constellations in treatment are actively contained and processed by the psychoanalyst and interpreted with discrete selectivity, the core motivation for the analysand's compulsions towards behaviours that have resulted in much pain and anguish (related to psychic regret) can be revealed to the analysand. Thus, the interplay between the transference work of traditional psychoanalysis and the “developmental mourning” work of object relations psychoanalysis can be seen to interact in profoundly critical ways for our clinical work.

Pivotal moments of psychic change and psychic integration can also be seen to evolve along the dimension of a developing journey that highlights the affective interplay of guilt as grief, object loss related to regretted character behaviours, and the enraged hate of negative transference that is often expressed through sadistic behaviour within the treatment process. The psychoanalyst can understand these pivotal moments as an interplay of grief and aggression within an overall developmentally progressive mourning process. The analysand can be introduced to visualising his own vivid developmental and psychic journey, as self-integration and separation–individuation both proceed.

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Chapter Two - Melanie Klein's Creative Writing Revealing Themes in her Life and Theorising

Kavaler-Adler, Susan Karnac Books ePub

Through Grosskurth's (1986) research, we can see in Klein's own creative writing (produced after her mother's death) that the psychic themes, which were just outlined, manifest in a symbolic form. Grosskurth's conjectures follow, as do my own. Having constructed a psychic demon, Melanie Klein was most particularly in need of a psychic muse, a figure upon which to cast her fantasy mother ideal in conjunction with her yearned fantasy father, someone who might finally offer her erotic gratification, as well as inspiration for her creative writing. Klein's stories show the inspiration for her creative writing; they show both her need and her search. They also portray the binding guilt that imprisons her. It is such guilt that (when kept unconscious) kept her externally imprisoned in a detached and failing marriage, as well as internally imprisoned within a closed internal psychic system. In this closed psychic system, one that can be described by Fairbairn's (1952) theory of an anti-libidinal ego system in which self-sabotaging identifications dominate the whole personality, Klein is haunted by her mother's disowned parts. When Klein does finally burst (rather than evolve) out of her shell, her voice emerges in poetry, following her earlier prose stories with their stream of consciousness orientation (at the time of James Joyce). The denouement forecast in her short stories results in the demon-lover complex (see Kavaler-Adler, 1985–2013) that manifests in both literary and life themes of seduction and abandonment. Such themes harken back to both unresolved oedipal disappointment and to pre-oedipal entrapment, the latter being related to a mother who perhaps could not connect with her unless Melanie served as her self-extension or self-object. Such a father–mother figure is now seen as a lover, at the end of the symbiotic/oedipal “affair”, precluding a relationship of two individuated selves.

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Chapter Two - Conscious Regret in Clinical Treatment Engendering a Critical Turn Towards Love and Creativity Healing a Schizoid Woman and her Family: The Case of Sharon

Kavaler-Adler, Susan Karnac Books ePub

CHAPTER TWO

Conscious regret in clinical treatment engendering a critical turn towards love and creativity, healing a schizoid woman and her family: the case of Sharon

Acritical distinction between Kleinian object relations theory and that of other schools of object relations thinking, particularly in the USA, is that Kleinian thinking (1940) is attuned to the element of existential guilt as a factor in psychic change. By contrast, the other schools of object relations thinking focus on the affective element of loss alone as having developmental significance in relation to healing trauma and resolving developmental arrest.

Mahler's (1967) object relations theory, for example, speaks of the capacity to tolerate the grief of loss as a pivotal determinant of separation–individuation. Mahler does not speak about guilt as interacting with loss in her view of psychic change evolving from the navigation of the separation–individuation phases of development, even though she does acknowledge a range of mourning experience to be natural for separation–individuation to take place. Mahler speaks of a mild form of depressive affect experience, which she calls “low keyedness” (Mahler, Pine, & Bergman, 1975). Such low keyedness takes place in normal and timely separation–individuation processes, where there has been the internalisation of good enough mothering and mother bonding. A more intense form of grief takes place when separation–individuation has been arrested. This more intense form of grief has been called an “abandonment depression” by Masterson (1976, 1981), who follows Mahler's (1967) theory and schema of development, particularly in pathological cases of developmental arrest. Another object relations theorist, the British theorist Michael Balint (1979), speaks of mourning in his “basic fault” cases of pre-Oedipal developmental arrest. Bowlby (1969, 1980), likewise, speaks of normal mourning for psychic development, as well as psychic change. Masterson (1971–1985), Balint (1965, 1979), and Bowlby (1963, 1969, 1980), like Mahler (1967–1975), do not mention the pain and anguish of guilt as an existential and affective aspect of mourning and grief. They only refer to grief in terms of object loss. Fairbairn (1952), another object relations theorist, speaks of relinquishing old object relations ties in a traumatic separation process, but refers more to exorcism of bad objects than to any mourning process. When Fairbairn uses the word “guilt”, he refers to a spurious or false form of guilt that is essentially a masochistic defence of self-blame, a defence which serves to deny the demonic or “bad object” aspects of the real parent. Authentic existential guilt is never dealt with by Fairbairn.

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Chapter Ten - Loneliness in Dialectic with Solitude

Kavaler-Adler, Susan Karnac Books ePub

In 1963, Melanie Klein was writing her paper, “On the sense of loneliness”, at relatively the same time that Winnicott (1958) was writing his paper, “The capacity to be alone”, which outlined the prerequisites for solitude. In Rodman's (2004) Biography of D. W. Winnicott, he points out this intriguing synchronicity. In doing so, he inspired me to look at the biographical and clinical contrasts pertaining to loneliness and solitude, with the accompanying dialectics that paint a theoretical and clinical chiaroscuro.

As we look at the interplay between Klein's thinking on “loneliness” and Winnicott's thinking on solitude as the “capacity to be alone”, we look at a dialectic that represents the larger domain of psychoanalytic thinking. It is the domain of the whole school of intersubjective thinking of self psychology and relational psychoanalysis, and it is related to Winnicott's “transitional” phenomena, in contrast and in interaction with the whole classical domain of psychoanalysis, the domain which has seen its “depth” in terms of journeys into the intrapsychic interiors of human beings. This perspective began with Freud, and it continues in the theoretical contributions of Klein.

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CHAPTER EIGHT Winnicott’s contribution to the understanding of mirroring as a developmental process: the Klein–Winnicott dialectic within

Kavaler-Adler, Susan Karnac Books PDF

CHAPTER EIGHT

Winnicott’s contribution to the understanding of mirroring as a developmental process: the Klein–Winnicott dialectic within

n 1967, Winnicott wrote his paper, “Mirror-role of the mother and family in child development”. In doing so, he brought a primary aspect of developmental functioning to the awareness of psychoanalysts. Freudian and Kleinian analysts (who thought solely in terms of interpreting unconscious impulses or fantasies to make them conscious through interpretation) would greatly resist the developmental perspective that Winnicott was introducing into the British

Psychoanalytic Society. Analysed by a Kleinian analyst, Joan Riviere,

Winnicott would constantly find his ideas and their developmental focus on the environmental other, the mother and, later, the analyst, rejected and misunderstood. In America, Freudian analysts who congregated as medical elite in the conclave of the New York Psychoanalytic Institute, were even more rejecting (Rodman, 2004).

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CHAPTER FOUR Explicating and utilising the phenomenological theory

Kavaler-Adler, Susan Karnac Books PDF

CHAPTER FOUR

Explicating and utilising the phenomenological theory

innicott (1965, 1975) wrote about the formation of a “true self” in a human being who begins life in a dyadic relationship with a mother, who hopefully can offer “primary maternal preoccupation” to facilitate her infant’s developmental growth into the state of having a “self”. In dialectic with this, Klein offers us a phenomenological theory that can be fleshed out in developmental terms, but which also offers us the poignancy of a theorist who has lived very close to the existential nature of human suffering.

In fact, Klein’s phenomenology looks at moral growth through the lens of a human heart that bears its imprint on psychic experience.

Klein’s phenomenological theory is one of two primary psychic state positions, each having its own unique constellation of defences, modes of object relations, and psychic structure. In The Matrix of the

Mind, Ogden (1986) has done an admirable job of offering clinical examples for the different mental experience of the two positions.

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CHAPTER NINE Narcissistic mirroring as perversion of developmental mourning

Kavaler-Adler, Susan Karnac Books PDF

CHAPTER NINE

Narcissistic mirroring as perversion of developmental mourning

Impingement vs. recognition arcissistic parents can pervert developmentally facilitating mirroring into an impinging mode of mirroring, “impinging” being a Winnicottian term. This impinging narcissistic mirroring demands the contrived and “reactive” false-self performance from the child (Winnicott, 1971b). Where the mirroring face of the mother allows for the child’s recognition of his inner emotional and self-state, the mirroring of a narcissistic parent reflects back recognition only for the performing behaviour that pleases the parent’s narcissistic view. This is not Winnicott’s depressed mother who mirrors back her own lousy mood, but the more omnipotent type of mother Winnicott referred to in his writings. And, although Winnicott did not deal with the father, the father has a primal (even if only secondary) effect on development (Kavaler-Adler, 1985, 1986). It is often the father who provides a form of narcissistic mirroring that encourages the child’s defensive compensation for earlier psychological lacks, wounds, or deprivations with the mother.

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Chapter One - Developmental Transformation of Aggression within Mourning

Kavaler-Adler, Susan Karnac Books ePub

CHAPTER ONE

Developmental transformation of aggression within mourning

Psychoanalytic theories on aggression in the developmental mourning process

Sigmund Freud, in his classic 1917 paper, “Mourning and melancholia”, wrote of the adhesive tie of the self to this object in terms of the libido sticking adhesively to its lost object. This pertained to his picture of the normal mourning process, as opposed to the pathologically arrested mourning that he described in the psychologically paralysed “melancholic”. It was only in the case of the melancholic that Freud (1917e) addressed the issue of aggression. He did so in relation to the defensive use of aggression within the melancholic, who was arrested in his need to mourn due to the psychological block created by defensive aggression. For the melancholic, according to Freud (1917e), the aggression which he related to drive and instinct was unconsciously felt as hatred towards the lost others. In Freud's “melancholic”, the lost love object was thought to be irrevocably lost, as in death, not symbolically lost as in psychological separation and its developmental evolutions. Freud brilliantly deduced that the melancholic continually attacks himself with self-recriminations, while defensively turning his hatred towards the lost other against himself (masochistically). This defensive self-attack observed by Freud can be seen by those of us who have worked extensively with resistances to mourning in the clinical situation as the key resistive block to any normal mourning and letting-go process. This contrasts highly with the normal mourner observed by Freud, who was capable of tolerating the painful and slow work of mourning, consequently gradually letting go of the adhesive libido tie to the lost other.

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