23 Chapters
Medium 9781780490267

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

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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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Chapter Eleven: Ruptures and Reconnections: Play as a Thread for Sewing Up?

Karnac Books ePub

Massimo Vigna-Taglianti

In this chapter, I will attempt to tackle the subject of ruptures, taking as my starting point a number of differing perspectives that are, in fact, deeply interwoven.

We know that the warp and weft of life is continually inscribed with personal and interpersonal lacerations and restitchings, and that the forms of psychic suffering in many ways resemble fractures subsequently darned with more or less unsuccessful attempts at disharmonious self-soldering. Psychoanalysis, too, which deals with these ruptures and attempts to provide patients with more stable and harmonious recompositions than those they have individually adopted up to that moment, has not been, and is not, devoid of “splits”: suffice to recall the theoretical rifts that have occurred in the history of psychoanalytic thought (within Freudian thought itself, between Freud and Jung, between Freud and Ferenczi, between Melanie Klein and Anna Freud, to cite only a few).

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Chapter Ten: The Mirror Role of Mother and Family in Child Development: A Reflection

Karnac Books ePub

Angela Joyce

The provenance of this chapter, derived from a paper given to a conference in London in 1967 under the title, “The predicament of the family: a psychoanalytical symposium”, is rooted much earlier in Winnicott's writings, as he explored the milieu in which a child comes to experience him/herself as existing in the world in a real way. Winnicott, the psychoanalytic and paediatric clinician concerned with “doing something and doing it usefully” (Winnicott, 1986, p. 102), was also a theoretician of health and his concerns could be said to be an extended contemplation around living, being, feeling real; he is renowned for his attention to the subtleties of those factors that interfere with the inherent tendency towards development and health. The metaphor of the mirror applied to both development and the clinical process underlines his focus on processes between child and the environment (mother in the first instance) rather than simply within the baby: between analyst and analysand. However, this late paper in his canon can be said to break new ground in moving that focus from the initial mouth–breast relationship (with its links to drive theory in psychoanalysis) to the significance of the gaze and, thus, the complexity of the link between baby and mother, in the constitution of the self at the beginning of life.

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10. Conflicting forces: on the beginning of the treatment

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10

Norberto C. Marucco

Introduction

Our analytic work places us in the role of a very particular kind of researcher who must constantly reflect upon himself, his therapeutic task, the theory he supports, the cultural context in which he thinks and acts, the vicissitudes of the scientific field he belongs to, and the relation the latter has with the rest of scientific disciplines. I personally understand the psychoanalytic method as a proposal of self-knowledge implying the analyst’s will to know his patient and himself, as well as the modes of psychic structuring and functioning, constantly coming and going between the theory and the clinical work. His goal is to search for the truth. This truth will be gradually revealed by patient and analyst alike in sometimes erratic approaches with no guarantees or reassurances, and does not belong to either of them. And all this will happen in the course of a dialogue of desires structured by the transference, a dialogue in which any statement is only temporarily true. I would like to quote here Maud Mannoni (1980):

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Chapter Two: Playing

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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