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7: The analyst's psychic work and the three concepts of countertransference: Contributions made at the final meeting of the IPA Research Group, September 2003

Karnac Books ePub

7

Fernando Urribarri

“How does the contemporary analyst's mind work?” That was the key question that defined the research conducted by our group.

One of the most original and interesting features of our research was therefore the two-tier, heterogeneous, yet complementary exploration of contemporary psychoanalytic thinking. At a first level, our research explored the way of thinking of a group of psychoanalysts from different psychoanalytic orientations and cultures, both in terms of their personal opinions and, to a certain extent, as representatives of their respective currents. At a second level, the topic of “countertransference (with borderline patients)” focused on the specifics of analytic work from this side of the couch, in the analyst's mind—particularly with non-neurotic patients, who push the limits of analytic resources. At the intersection of those two levels is our goal, as set forth in the title and purpose of our research project: identifying points of consensus and disagreement among different theoretical and cultural perspectives.

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CHAPTER ELEVEN: Libidinal styles

Green, Andre Karnac Books ePub

In “Analysis terminable and interminable” (1937c), Freud had already attempted to describe a certain number of characteristics which he linked to poorly defined libidinal qualities. Thinking about them a posteriori, they could be considered as constitutional factors. Today, we would not be satisfied with invoking an innate libidinal nature; rather, they would be seen as a product of early experiences, fixed by the vicissitudes of development. These influences marked the emerging psyche with characteristics that shaped individual style. Without adopting a position on the genesis of the impressions affecting the libido, I will simply remind you of some of them.

Freud postulated a libidinal viscosity or a certain adhesiveness of psychic investments. This is marked by a resistance to displacing investments, to mobilizing the libido when it seems to aspire to change and a modification of its aims. Adhesiveness has been the object of renewed interest on the part of Kleinian authors (adhesive identification), who have proposed new descriptions.

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Medium 9781855753877

ADDENDUM TO LECTURE

Green, Andre Karnac Books ePub

André Green

Conjectures about Winnicott’s unconscious counter-transference in the case of Masud Khan, in the light of the Wynne Godley case

In February 2001 Wynne Godley published a paper, “Saving Masud Khan” (2001), which created a great deal of concern among the analysts of the British Psychoanalytical Society, but not only among them. It generated much discussion and brought more plainly into the open the question of boundary violations. The Society’s Ethics Committee, represented by A.-M. Sandler, replied officially to Godley, addressing many of his complaints (2004). Exceptionally, although not uniquely, prior to this particular incident, other papers had dealt with the Masud Khan case—mostly by Linda Hopkins, who is currently working on a biography of him. In one of her papers, published before Godley’s paper appeared, she deals specifically with Winnicott’s analysis of Masud Khan (1998).

This Addendum proposes to show how Winnicott’s unconscious counter-transference was a contributory factor in the failure of the treatment. Its failure was also the result of some of Winnicott’s debatable ideas on technique, which have their own blind spots. All of this, combined, offered little hope—if there was any to begin with—of saving Masud Khan. Furthermore, it seeks to illustrate not only how play can transgress the limits of the setting but how it can also be turned into “foul play” (as in Hamlet). Linda Hopkins has dealt in her paper with Masud Khan’s application of play techniques to analytic consultation and the treatment of adults (Hopkins, 2000); here, however, we venture beyond what she reports.

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PLAY AND REFLECTION IN DONALD WINNICOTT’S WRITINGS

Green, Andre Karnac Books ePub

André Green

In writing Donald Winnicott’s commemoration I find that I I strongly identify with him. Throughout his life Winnicott struggled against compliance, conformism, and submission. It is scarcely surprising there has not been any Winnicottian school and that no one is called his disciple, even those closest to him. As I feel a certain continuity exists between Winnicott and myself, I shall not provide a submissive account of his ideas, even though I do think he was the most creative mind in psychoanalysis, after Freud.

When Winnicott gave his first lecture to the British Psychoanalytical Society, on 28 November 1945, on the subject of “Primitive emotional development”, he said it was like the introduction to a book. He expounded his original method: ideas were not formed from other theories. He confessed that in building his own theory, he gathered elements from various sources and “related them to his clinical experience”, but was prepared to examine in due course the few things he “stole” here and there from others. However, my concern here is not what Winnicott is said to have “stolen” from others, but rather what his own theory chose to leave out and would not embrace.

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(A) Some examples drawn from the experience of collaborators

Green, Andre Karnac Books ePub

Axelle: a countertransference equal to anything1
Case reported by M.-F. Castarède

This analysis had been going on for more than twenty years. After various attempts to find a suitable setting, the face-to-face situation proved to be the most favourable option. The patient led a very restricted life, unlike her brothers and sisters. She lived alone, had broken off her studies, and took care of the children of quite close friends. She had no relations with people of her own age. She seemed satisfied to look after children, with whom she said she had a “self-evident” relationship—that is, she had the feeling that she understood them instinctively, without any difficulty.

She had only one passion in her life, music, which no doubt had a lot to do with the countertransferential attachment of her therapist, who was a psychoanalyst and musicologist. But it should also be added that the therapist recognized in her patient elements that reminded her of aspects of her own history, hence the particular attachment she felt for this case. For a long period of time the therapeutic relationship was sustained by long letters from the patient to her therapist, who showed admirable patience and managed to keep the therapeutic relationship going, avoiding attempts to break it off.

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