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Chapter Two: Playing

Gennaro Saragnano Karnac Books ePub

Anna Maria Nicolò

Introduction

Winnicott is one of the authors with the largest influence on the psychoanalysis of today, seemingly an easy read, yet with every re-reading we get the feeling that however much we might have taken for granted at the beginning, there are other hidden meanings that have managed to escape us.

That this should be so is due to many reasons, foremost among which are the revolutionary implications of some of his discoveries, but also his use of language. Over the past years, many authors (Abram, 1996; Bonaminio, 1991; Ogden, 2013) have pointed out that Winnicott invented a new language, one that is simple, direct, not usual, not intellectual, and one in which he even made up his own words. To me it seems that all of this derives from his enormous clinical experience, which kept him continuously in touch with a very large variety of patients, as well as from the fact that he progressively perfected his discoveries and refined his ideas. He did this in a manner so that, within himself, he kept the psychoanalytical theories of his time in conflict with the data of what he had himself observed. This new language of his was born out of the necessity to describe new concepts, for which the theoretical and philosophical context of the time did not provide him with any adequate instruments. Like many precursors, he made himself the bearer and protagonist of a conceptual revolution, carrying with it a multitude of implications. However, he did not craft it into an organised and organic theory; rather, it was born out of his clinical examples and the commentary that he furnished them with.

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Chapter Five: Genesis, Primal Scene, and Self-Engenderment

Gennaro Saragnano Karnac Books ePub

Denys Ribas

Genesis

Ayoung woman remembered her rebellion as a child at the religious teaching of the creation of the world. She found the idea of submissively having to surrender any logic in her own thinking unacceptable. How could God create the world “in the beginning”, and the days and the nights on the first day? She stopped believing in the religious dogma that very day, and went on believing in herself!

It is easy to imagine that Winnicott might have appreciated this childhood insubordination at the temporal illogicality: “how it is possible to claim to create time one day?”, as the young woman explained she had wondered. Yet, as life holds surprises in store, my admiration for her youthful lucidity had to reckon with two challenges to the dismissal of the religious doctrine of the world's creation. First, astrophysicists, in discovering a strange aspect of the nature of time that is more intrinsically linked to the space of our universe, have hypothesised an original big bang that is equally surprising. More unexpectedly, however, Winnicott has revealed to us how the child creates the world he discovers in a temporal paradox made possible by his union with the mother's psyche, by clearly explaining that a union can exist between the mother and the child without the idea of union. On the basis that it describes the psychic genesis of over ten billion former little gods that inhabit the planet, genesis becomes rather Winnicottian.

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9. How to modify the unconscious: a transformational–modular approach and its implications for psychoanalytic psychotherapy

Gennaro Saragnano Karnac Books ePub

9

Hugo Bleichmar

Psychoanalytic psychotherapy has evolved since the first works of Freud, influenced by the increasing knowledge contributed by generations of analysts regarding the structure and function of the psyche, especially concerning: a) multiple sectors of the unconscious; b) complex relationships between conscious knowledge and therapeutic change; c) forces opposed to therapeutic change; and d) types of interventions capable of promoting change or the opposite—reinforcing pathology.

The discovery that conscious knowledge does not necessarily produce the desired change if unconscious resistances are not overcome is one of the themes of “On beginning the treatment” (Freud, 1913c), a subject raised again in “The unconscious” (Freud, 1915e) not as a simple technical problem but as a result of the psyche’s organisation into differentiated sectors. In today’s terms, we could say that Freud always conceived of the psyche as consisting of systems or modules, his first topographical model and later the structural model, each with its own origin and development, interacting and influencing each other reciprocally. Not encapsulated modules, as considered by Fodor (1983), but rather the product of a process of modularisation through interactions with other modules.

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2. From past to present: what changes have occurred in the acceptance of the conditions for psychoanalytic treatment and its setting?

Gennaro Saragnano Karnac Books ePub

2

Marie-France Dispaux

Any careful reading of Freud’s paper “On beginning the treatment” (1913c) cannot but prove once again how astonishingly modern some of his ideas were. The clinical aspects of that paper are particularly striking; it begins with the well-known metaphor about “the noble game of chess” (p. 123), which reminds us of the difficulties encountered whenever an analysis is being envisaged.

My present task is to explore the ways in which, in contemporary psychoanalytic practice, the ability of the patients who seek our help to accept the conditions and setting of the treatment has changed over time. There are several levels on which we could investigate this matter. First of all, we must ask ourselves if we have become aware of significant changes in the initial stages of psychoanalytic treatment and, if so, attempt to discover the underlying reasons for these. Have these changes to do with modifications in the pathology of the patients who seek our help? What impact have changes in society had on the possibility of accepting the conditions for psychoanalytic treatment? Why, and in what way, does that question seem more of an issue today than it was before? I shall try to answer these questions.

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Chapter One: Illusion in the Origins of Transitional Phenomena and Transitional Objects

Gennaro Saragnano Karnac Books ePub

Raquel Zak de Goldstein

“The transitional phenomena represent the early stages of the use of illusion, without which there is no meaning for the human being in the idea of a relationship with an object that is perceived by others as external to that being”

(Winnicott, 1971, p. 11)

“Transitional objects and transitional phenomena belong to the realm of illusion which is at the basis of initiation of experience…. the mother's special capacity for making adaptation to the needs of her infant, thus allowing the infant the illusion that what the infant creates really exists”

(Winnicott, 1971, p. 14)

“It will rightly be objected that an organization which was a slave to the pleasure principle and neglected the reality of the external World could not maintain itself alive for the shortest time, so that it could not have come into existence at all. The employment of a fiction like this is, however, justified when one considers that the infant – provided one includes with it the care it receives from its mother – does almost realize a psychical system of this kind. It probably hallucinates the fulfilment of its internal needs; it betrays its unpleasure…by the motor discharge of screaming and beating about with its arms and legs, and it then experiences the satisfaction it has hallucinated”

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