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Chapter One - The Way to Identity: An Auspicious Method?

Arundale, Jean Karnac Books ePub

A robust “sense of self” or self-identity is not a given; there are many ways the self can be lost, deformed, split into parts, or falsified. If one is fortunate, a central identity is formed through the vicissitudes of growing up from infancy into adulthood, meeting each stage as it comes, withstanding the developmental challenges and inevitable traumas that occur. Psychoanalytic theory, begun with Freud and developed by Klein, Winnicott, and many others, provides a coherent roadmap of human development, firmly based on a theory of mind, applicable as a method of treatment for a range of disorders, as well as providing an abundant and rich catalogue of difficulties on the journey to an “identity”.

Psychoanalysis is particularly suited to the task of finding or re-finding the self and establishing an identity if that has not developed or has been lost, fragmented, or become unreal. Some of the pitfalls in establishing self-identity that will be addressed in the chapters of this book will include battles between conflicting parts of the self, splitting the self into parts, excessive projection of parts of the self into others or introjection of parts of others into the self. There can be a surfeit of identifications, playing out roles assigned by parents, or performing other roles that aren't authentic. Feeling oneself to be unreal or false, estranged or out of touch with oneself, or disconnected from others, is discomfiting, to say the least.

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Chapter Seven: Phobic attachments: internal impediments to change

Jean Arundale Karnac Books ePub

Michael Halton

This chapter is concerned with a group of patients who suffer from entrenched narcissistic and phobic defences. Because of this, they find establishing deep emotional contact with other people to be very problematic. It would be misleading to say they are suffering from a narcissistic personality structure, as the term is usually understood, with its connotations of omnipotent self-sufficiency and self-regard. These patients are well aware of an emotional need for other people, and consciously they desire and seek out closeness. However, when they move towards their object or their object makes too close a move towards them, they become anxious and are often overwhelmed with phobic panic and fears. The nature of these fears is often mysterious and confusing to themselves, and they find it difficult to make sense of their own reactions, which seem to be at such odds with the closeness and intimacy they most consciously desire. At best, these patients feel uneasy and awkward when confined in emotional closeness to another person, and at worst, this can deteriorate into a full-blown state of claustrophobic entrapment, accompanied by experiences of a loss of self and depersonalization. They often seek help because these difficulties have led to a marked impoverishment in their social and emotional lives, whether they are consciously aware of this or not. It is important to stress that while some of these patients may be on the borderline end of the spectrum in terms of mental functioning, others may be operating with a considerably more mature level of psychic organization and do not, at first acquaintance, present as especially ill. However, they are all generally unhappy and discontented with their lot and find the ordinary ups and downs of life an ordeal.

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Prelude: From psychotherapist to psychoanalyst: processes in the formation of an IPA society

Jean Arundale Karnac Books ePub

Debbie Bandler Bellman

In so far as one aim of this book is to introduce the British Psychoanalytic Association (BPA), it feels fitting to begin with a section, a “Prelude,” on the formation of our society and the processes involved in becoming psychoanalysts. Although a few in our society are long-standing members of the International Psychoanalytical Association (IPA), having undertaken an initial training in psychoanalysis, most have made the transition from psychoanalytic psychotherapist to psychoanalyst. Central to our story is, thus, a transition of professional identity, having as its core the development of clinical work, the development of our capacities to work with unconscious processes within the transference–countertrans-ference. Questions of what it means to be a psychoanalyst have occupied us, both as individual practitioners and as an ever-increasing group, throughout the ten-year process of becoming a Component Society, a status awarded in January 2010.

In forming an IPA Society, we have had, on the one hand, to differentiate ourselves from our colleagues at the British Association of Psychotherapists (BAP), the organization the BPA is both distinct from and a part of, and, on the other, to begin to take our place beside the British Psychoanalytical Society (BPAS) as the second IPA Society within the UK. Becoming the second society has felt both historic and humbling. Many members of the BPAS were our trainers, both in our initial psychoanalytic psychotherapy training and in our becoming psychoanalysts according to IPA Equivalency Criteria (International Psychoanalytical Association, 1999). Alongside gratitude and admiration, there have been aspects of our relationship to the BPAS coloured by transference phenomena that we have had to work through in becoming psychoanalysts.

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Chapter Eleven - Arrested Development: Notes on a Case of Paedophilia

Arundale, Jean Karnac Books ePub

The path of emotional development sometimes goes awry and reaches the cul-de-sac of sexual perversion. For the paedophile presented in this chapter, sexual contact with young boys was his consuming interest. The study of sexual perversion has become a pressing issue, as we have been made aware of the extent of child sexual abuse in our society. I will begin by outlining theories from the psychoanalytic literature before presenting the case and the discussion.

The psychoanalytic literature

Many of the contributions to the literature on the aetiology of perversion point to the disturbance of the early relationship to the primal object in regard to excess innate aggression, including acute infant self/object confusion, bodily fusion states, terror of loss of the object or self, and the resultant desperate distancing mechanisms that are an attempt to differentiate and maintain a sense of self against the fear of ego disintegration and non-survival—a fear thought to be shared by all the perversions (Gallwey, 1978; Glasser, 1979, 1986; Khan, 1979; McDougall, 1972, 1986; Stoller, 1976). These authors also refer to the style of communication in perversions—disturbances in symbolic functioning, concrete thinking, omnipotent autistic domination of the object, and excessive use of projective identification—indicating severe disturbances in object relationships, together with interference with thinking and reality testing.

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Chapter Three: Sexuality and the analytic couple

Jean Arundale Karnac Books ePub

Viqui Rosenberg

“The darkest place, according to a Chinese proverb, is always underneath the lamp.”

(Barthes, 1979, p. 59)

In the Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality (1905d), Freud postulated the centrality of infantile sexuality in the structuring of the human psyche, describing sexuality as a pleasure-seeking instinctual energy. Admittedly, he was expanding the concept of sexuality to define

a whole range of excitations and activities which may be observed from infancy onwards and which procure a pleasure that cannot be adequately explained in terms of the satisfaction of a basic physiological need (respiration, hunger, excretory function, etc.). [Laplanche & Pontalis, 1985, p. 418]

As it was for Freud's readers then, nowadays we continue to struggle to accept that there is a connection of a sexual nature between the baby nursing at the breast, thumb-sucking, the complex vicissitudes of anality, childhood and adolescent masturbation, and adult sexual life. Many of these activities, being as they are an integral part of universal human experience, are often surrounded by secrecy, apprehension, shame, and even repulsion. Recognition of these early experiences as generating from, and expressing, our sexual life helps us to get the measure of this instinctual force, but this recognition would not be complete without the understanding that sexuality is always curtailed by the necessity to engage with others, and that, retrospectively, we experience sexual excitement from a perspective illuminated by the Oedipal dilemma. That is to say, sexuality is always linked to a sense of loss and absence, and the fantasy of sexual fulfilment inevitably leads to the notion of prohibition and guilt. Furthermore, with the question, “where do I come from?,” the child faces the fact that there is a sexual relationship at the beginning of each life (Green, 1995, p. 880; Laplanche, 1999, p. 171) and, with this knowledge, the painful reality of exclusion from that original union.

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