85 Chapters
Medium 9781855759589

CHAPTER SIX: Some thoughts on the essence of the tragic

Karnac Books ePub

K.I. Arvanitakis

An attempt is made to define the essence of the tragic through an examination of Euripides’s The Bacchae, a tragedy that deals with the origins of tragedy itself. The action here culminates in the dismemberment of Pentheus by his mother. It is proposed that the tragic may be related to the earliest phases of differentiation of the subject as a separate entity breaking off from the original mother–infant unit. Tragedy, in this view, could be regarded as the enactment of a primal phantasy of the birth of theIas the result of an archaic act of violence. The process of mourning for the loss of the original unity is central to this development. Pentheus’s tragic flaw consists in his repudiation of contradictory dualities and his inability to mourn. The integrative function of logos, both in tragedy and in the analytic process, is underlined. It is suggested that logos aims to generate meaning not by eliminating contradiction but by embodying the foundational human paradox.

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Medium 9781780491745

CHAPTER ONE: Onward and upward

Williams, Paul Karnac Books ePub

Summer came went as it does what was left of it spent in The Woods no longer alone boys turned up some to play others to shoot sparrows blue tits heat frogs in milk bottles until they swelled up and burst scanned them all talked to no-one hid in bushes avoid the ones who killed the animals protest against cruelty rose in his throat finding no voice turned away feelings quashed. Hated a small refined cat the woman called mother bought dismissed it tormented frightened it it hated back didn’t feel like a sick dance he did to it what she did to him what boys did to animals what he did to himself.

Birthday eleven unnoticed grammar school signalled the end of The Woods eight years refuge no sadness dampness settled into him as if left out in the rain though the summer sun still shone couldn’t move didn’t want to sit for long periods cast down less vigilant not noticing not caring. A ghost can prevent detection but the energy to keep the security camera running ran out paid the price.

“Gerrout yer fuckin’ l’il wanker.”

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Medium 9781855757370

CHAPTER FIFTEEN. A severe form of breakdown in communication in the psychoanalysis of an ill adolescent

Karnac Books ePub

Roger Kennedy

Introduction

Five-times-weekly psychoanalysis of the severely suicidal or psychotic adolescent is difficult and demanding for the patient and the analyst, both of whom require a fair amount of motivation in order to keep going through the many difficult patches. There are bound to be periods in which the patient will feel acutely suicidal, will feel strongly like opting out of the analysis, will make attacks on the setting, or will bring profound difficulties in communicating and relating for understanding. The analyst, in turn, might, not infrequently, feel tempted to relinquish his or her role, to attempt to do something rather than continue to analyse, or might feel hopeless and alone with an unbearable responsibility.

Part of the strain for the analyst might be that there often seems to be an expectation in psychoanalytic treatment that the analyst should always be “in touch” with the analysand in a number of different ways. Put simply, one could say that the analyst’s “in touchness” consists of three interlocking elements: an appropriate physical setting, adequate intellectual understanding, and selective emotional responsiveness. While I am not denying the central importance of being in touch with the patient as far as possible, I think that one can say that there are often moments, particularly in the psychoanalysis of psychotic and borderline psychotic subjects, when there are fairly major breakdowns in communication between analyst and analysand. Such moments are perhaps more sustained and serious in those subjects with whom I am particularly concerned in this paper, who have experienced a major interference in functioning, such as a suicide attempt or a serious psychotic breakdown. In this latter group, the three elements of the analyst’s in-touchness might be interfered with, so that the setting might no longer be safe, the analyst’s intellectual grasp of the analysis might be severely compromised, and/or his emotional awareness blunted. I wish to suggest that there are times when such breakdowns in communication, which threaten the analyst’s in-touchness, are useful, even though, at the time of their occurrence, they may be distressing, bewildering, and frustrating for both analyst and analysand.

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Medium 9781780491745

CHAPTER SEVEN: Halcyon days

Williams, Paul Karnac Books ePub

Rugby needs boots teacher said play rugby boots no boots shoes slip another situation couldn’t speak about ashamed halfway season photographs hid found at back no feet teacher found boots too big old boots ran around what for? Ways to be violent few unexpected conflicts predictable moves repetitive fouls penalised chase pull them down hard as you like little talk the odd shouting no words part not part of a team ran round the same not the same.

Physical exercise out of breath not puffed the way you get after a workout heave bent double gulp in air after short running lag behind others. Pace himself offset worst effects no difference discovered how bad it could be running cross country quarter mile first stop each quarter heave dizzy stop sit lie go on last the only race useless. Years later asthma people called parents smoked grey box fume filled era of no risks the man called father never without a Player’s Navy Cut Woodbine Capstan Full Strength cancered to early grave courtesy of the three. The woman called mother continued to smoke the man called husband died of a heart attack do you hear this? Breathlessness sport repeated breathless exertion thousands of times a child overcome tired cold hunger fear the upshot walking the streets out of breath gasping abuse neglect exhaustion. At dawn in America an adult noticed a line of Black workers waiting for a bus slim blonde white woman tracksuit top shorts jogged past iPod music eyes of the queue follow her as one not ogling thinking.

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Medium 9781855752160

3. The Indigestible Idea of Death

Williams, Arthur Hyatt Karnac Books ePub

Some years ago I was asked to give dynamic psychotherapy to a man who had been convicted of murdering another man. The patient had been sentenced to death and reprieved, with the sentence commuted to life imprisonment. Later I was asked to treat several more men serving life sentences for murder. What struck me most was the presence in the mind of the convicted murderer of a constellation of fantasies, dreams, thoughts, impulses, and ruminations to do with killing, annihilating, and obliterating. During the next few years, I tried to see if, by means of psychotherapy given by a psychoanalyst while the patient was in prison, the intrapsychic configuration I flamboyantly called the blueprint for murder (see Chapter 1) could be worked through. The aim was to work through to such a degree that the intrapsychic situation became relatively safe and the “blueprint” no longer remained the threatening encapsulation it had been.

Having achieved some limited success with the patients treated in prison, I turned my attention to people not in prison, people who had not committed murder but were thought to be in danger of doing so, or who themselves felt afraid that they might do so. Some of these patients had been picked out by colleagues— psychiatrists and psychologists—because they were thought to have a “blueprint for murder.” The psychologists recognized the situation when they studied the responses made to projection tests: the patients complained of murderous fantasies, dreams, or impulses. There was no difficulty in getting diem to therapy (psychoanalysis in two or three cases). When the blueprint was found in people who had no conscious awareness of murderousness, the problem was whether to let the trouble remain in intrapsychic limbo or to draw attention to it. If the complaints for which the patient had been referred had a life-threatening element that was recognizable in diem, it was thought advisable to link the test findings with the symptoms.

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