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CHAPTER FORTY-ONE: The Technique at Issue: Controversies in Psychoanalysis from Freud and Ferenczi to Michael Balint by André Haynal

Gillian Preston Karnac Books ePub

How pleasant to meet Dr Haynal, who picks up a subject potentially heavy to the mind, and makes of it a stylish, lively story, that can be read with profitable pleasure in an evening. Spiced with anecdotes from the lives of his three main protagonists, this study of the river of controversy flowing through psychoanalysis since early days gives one a sparkling overview of the often turbulent waters, and follows the mainstream through to the present.

In the beginning was Freud, and, for a decade or so, the Word was Freud. But then came a challenger from the East—Hungary: Ferenczi, at one and the same time Freud’s most ardent, loyal supporter (and analysand), and yet, of all the first-generation followers, the one who pushed the boundaries irretrievably onwards and outwards, and pioneered new ground to the end of his days. Where Freud concentrated on theory, Ferenczi’s great love was expansion of technique; Freud saw the patient as an object of rational study, yielding new insights for his model of the mind, whereas Ferenczi saw him as a suffering person interacting with, and affecting, the analyst. Freud, with genius, constructed a “one-person psychology”; Ferenczi, with intuition, opened up the whole field of “two-person psychology”. Freud knew about transference and countertransference, but was rather afraid of them; Ferenczi embraced both as the best instruments for our purpose. Freud would have argued: “Developing theory will further technique”, and he used the “classical” method of cognitive, didactic insights and reconstruction of memory. Ferenczi’s view could be summarized as: “Developing technique will produce theory”, and he evolved the “object-related” method with high levels of transference and countertransference work, interactive empathy, and the use of regression. Balint took up where Ferenczi left off, and the spotlight moved again on to the analyst himself as a whole person, and not only on his use of countertransference. Level-headed in furious controversy, Balint deepened and refined the study of regression as a valuable analytic experience.

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CHAPTER FORTY: Reason and Violence

Gillian Preston Karnac Books ePub

In this book, Laing and Cooper present expositions of Sartre’s three major works of the past decade. There is a lucid introduction, which for most profit should be re-read immediately once one has finished the book: it illuminates the difficult terminology, and particularly discusses the concept of “ambiguity” in Sartre’s work and language for which the reader should prepare himself if he is to attempt understanding. Part One––”Question of Method”—repays careful and attentive reading, as the use of such concepts as praxis, totalization, depassment thereby become more intelligible: if some awareness of them is assimilated, then Part Three—”Critique of dialectical reason”—is best taken at a run, without too much vertiginous dwelling on individual statements. The ideas it is expressing are vastly comprehensive and complex, and can best be appreciated in this way. Part One speaks more directly to the practising psychoanalyst, making one reflect on possible extensions of technique, and on increase in flexibility. While the section on Genet presents a fascinating existential study in terms which are reasonably accessible to a clinician, the Questions of Method offer stimulating lines of thought on the extent to which psychoanalysis compares unconflictingly with Sartre’s thought, and yet how far also Sartre “depasses” it.

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CHAPTER FOURTEEN: My pen pal

Gillian Preston Karnac Books ePub

Gill Davies

In truth, I only met Nina once, and that was in the late 1980s. I was struck by her appearance and demeanour. She was handsome, but seemed quite austere—the kind of person who, I felt strongly, would do things meticulously and correctly. She struck me as a particular type of English woman, upper middle-class, clearly well read, radiating personal authority, neither a taker nor receiver of liberties. Faced with such a seemingly perfectly-formed person, one wondered if there might be possibilities for “difference” just below the surface. Was she what she seemed to be?

Some years later, I had become the managing director of Free Association Books. I wrote to our authors to explain my arrival and to outline some of my intentions in relation to the administration of their “affairs” (at the time, paying their royalties was our most pressing need), my approach to managing the list, as well as the kind of publications I was seeking to contract. It was the usual kind of letter a publisher sends out when joining a company. I did get a reply from Nina, short, polite, wishing me well, and so on. Things might never have developed further from that first exchange of letters, but one day I wrote asking if she could advise me on a synopsis for a book that an author had sent me.

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CHAPTER FOUR: A Buddhist way of seeing

Gillian Preston Karnac Books ePub

Barbara Hopkinson

Imet Nina Coltart in Spring 1968 and our paths crossed like this.

In the mid-1960s the marriage of a relative was in a bad way. The husband’s infidelity had affected his wife to such an extent that her previously confident, bubbly personality had changed to one of depression and apathy. I watched the whole family deteriorating for some time until, quite suddenly, between one month and the next, there were distinct signs of joie de vivre returning. At an appropriate moment, I enquired as to the cause, and was told that my relative had been given the name of a wonderful doctor in Hampstead who was showing her how to deal with her despair in a new way.

Something made me ask the name of this remarkable person— it was Nina Coltart. The name stuck in my mind. I think I knew unconsciously that I might need her one day, as my second marriage was becoming a repetition of the earlier disaster.

Several years later, I had reached the end of the road: I found Dr Coltart’s number and rang her. In those days she answered her own telephone, and I was lucky enough to find her at home. She made it clear that she was not willing to accept new patients, having more than she could manage already. Desperation made me persistent, and eventually she agreed to see me.

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CHAPTER FORTY-SIX: The Electrified Tightrope

Gillian Preston Karnac Books ePub

For those who enjoy reading papers in the context of a background of information about the author, there is much to be said for reading the Afterword of this book first. It is a short piece of autobiography, which throws a special light on the author of these often extraordinary essays. It speaks to queries and theories that grow in one’s mind as one reads them. For example, although I might have guessed at it, I was delighted that Eigen actually says,

How can one call the therapist’s exasperation impatience when it may take years to reach the blow-out-burn-out point? Therapist outbursts can be helpful. It is inhuman for the therapist always to be on good behaviour … it is hard to imagine real work without [outbursts].

My pleasure related to the fact that to this day, thirteen years after I first gave the paper “Slouching towards Bethlehem”, people who have heard or read it still evince a sort of horrified shock at my description of “an outburst”.

The Afterword, and its references to the varied interests of this unusual man, provides us with a historical sketch of how these subjects have fed into his destiny, that is, his chosen life work of analysis and therapy. He reveals that he has, at one time or another, “gone into” a wide spread of therapies—Gestalt, existential, those that work with the body. The analysts who have been his strongest influences are Searles, Klein, Winnicott, British Independents generally, Kohut, Laing, Lacan, and Bion. He has always pursued a more than passing interest in religion, and later in his life he studied Kabbalah and Jewish mysticism with two elderly Chassidic rabbis in New York. Religion, prayer, faith, mystical experience—all appear, woven into the texture of his analytic writing; to those who will have some idea of what he means, he speaks of “a sense of holiness” which can visit him while he works, when “it uplifts me as an analytic person and ignites sessions”. His long apprenticeship included work with autistic and psychotic children, and with adults of very mixed pathologies. He gives us an overview of the sorts of subjects which interest him and which he likes to work with; this does not particularly focus on anything called “cure”, but includes “ideal experiencing”, psychosexual identity, interactions and coun-tertransference, the clinical (rather than theoretical) “dramas of the Self”, issues of pure-self feeling and self–other feeling, distinction and union, the body, the face. Both in the Afterword, and scattered through the essays, are views of what our work is, gleaned from experience: therapy is most helpful in “coming through”—coming through catastrophe, addiction, rigidity, psychopathy; it provides new experiences of old patterns, and new partnerships with unconscious processes; it soothes pain, assists growth, is full of contrasts and polarities, and constantly “brings one near the Unknowable”. Invaluable aphorisms on technique crop up frequently: “do not prematurely interpret the negative transference” (which is often a name, he adds, for the analyst’s frustration); “paradoxical injunctions are useful”, especially with the acting-out, psychopathic sort of patient for whom he seems to have a flair; “let them luxuriate in their hatred”; use cross-talk, aggressive playing, use the comic if the patient arouses it in you; “do not force intimacy on those who cannot bear it … it is as undesirable to deluge the patient with therapeutic openness as it is to starve him with too great austerity”. This last piece of advice is extremely necessary and rarely given. If only I could believe this book would reach the therapists who are proliferating round the edges of the older-established analytical fields, whose training is often scanty, and who often seem to rely on a sort of familiar over-friendliness as if it were therapeutic in itself—which, as Eigen emphasizes, it may well not be.

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