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Medium 9781780491172

Chapter Four - Tolerable and Intolerable Regret: Clinical Transformation of the Intolerable into the Tolerable

Kavaler-Adler, Susan Karnac Books ePub

CHAPTER FOUR

Tolerable and intolerable regret: clinical transformation of the intolerable into the tolerable

Intolerable regret in the mother and validation for the daughter

In classical psychoanalysis, we have been taught to not reassure patients. What does this mean? Why this caution? My understanding of this caution has been that the patient needs to struggle with his/her conflicts over his own impulses, to find his/her own resolutions by consciously confronting impulses that formerly were unconscious or out of control. The analysand needs to have this process without any interference in it. Whatever the patient's struggle, he/she needs room for it. The patient needs the psychic space, analytic space, and transitional space to struggle with his/her own dilemmas. To not offer reassurance is thought of as allowing such space. Refraining from offering reassurance also allows patients to experience that the analyst is not afraid of their experience. When a psychoanalyst does reassure a patient (and this happens probably more often than we admit), it is mostly our countertransference enactment of a rescue fantasy. Perhaps, getting the patient off the hook is a way of gratifying our own wish to restore our own inner harmony, through a gesture that seems kind and compassionate at the time. Perhaps in this way, we attempt to create reparation for ourselves; reparation with our internal parent, through projecting that parental other on to the patient.

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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 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 THREE The phenomenological theory stands on its own: death instinct as demon lover

Kavaler-Adler, Susan Karnac Books PDF

CHAPTER THREE

The phenomenological theory stands on its own: death instinct as demon lover

The demonic bad object as the price of pre-oedipal stage arrest and idealisation hose with defensive idealisation as a primary organising factor in their psyches inevitably split others into idealised and devalued figures. When the object is looked up to for creative inspiration, the idealised object becomes a muse figure, and the bad object becomes a demonic muse, or demon-lover figure. The demon lover evolves from early negative parent objects, combined with split-off or dissociated rage, and it is also the result of a split-off idealised image of the early parent. The idealised constellation of self and other exists in a polarised but isolated dimension of the psyche in relation to the bad object/demon-lover constellation. The rage associated with the demon lover is unneutralised; because it is sealed off in its dissociated state, as it remains unmodified by sustained internal love connections.

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CHAPTER SEVEN Dynamics of transitional space: pathological foreclosure vs. expansion in clinical treatment

Kavaler-Adler, Susan Karnac Books PDF

CHAPTER SEVEN

Dynamics of transitional space: pathological foreclosure vs. expansion in clinical treatment

n this chapter, a psychobiographical example is given to illustrate how the Winnicottian dimension of transitional space, which corresponds to the internal world’s psychic space, becomes foreclosed in those who are arrested with severe character pathology, without the intervention of object relations psychoanalytic treatment.

Then, several clinical vignettes are offered to illustrate the contrast of how two patients who underwent an in-depth “developmental mourning” process in object relations psychoanalytic treatment were able to open up the transitional space in their lives, corresponding with the internal psychic space in their intrapsychic life.

The psychobiographical example pertains to the lives I have studied in my former books. In The Creative Mystique: From Red Shoes

Frenzy to Love and Creativity (1996), I have an extensive study of the life of Virginia Woolf. In this chapter, which was published earlier in my newly edited The Compulsion to Create: Women Writers and Their Demon

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