18 Chapters
Medium 9781782200727

Chapter Eight: Cláudio Eizirik (Brazil)

Karnac Books ePub

 

Cláudio Eizirik is a training and supervising analyst at the Porto Alegre Psychoanalytic Society, and a professor of psychiatry at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul. Dr Eizirik is the past president of the International Psychoanalytical Association, and the author of books, chapters, and papers on analytic training, analytic practice, the process of ageing, and the relation of psychoanalysis and culture. He received the Sigourney Award in 2011. ceizirik.ez@terra.com.br

 

Present: Cláudio Eizirik (CE), Kerry Malawista (KM), Bob Winer (BW)

The only interview we held via Skype was with Cláudio Eizirik. We had planned to meet with Dr Eizirik while in Prague, but because of a family emergency, he had to cancel his trip. We worried that Skype would not provide the intimacy of our in-person interviews. Once the online interview began, our fears were allayed. Dr Eizirik's warmth and intelligence easily came through the digital divide. He offered us a view of the ongoing changes in priorities and thinking a psychoanalyst must embrace to remain attuned to his patients.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781782200727

Chapter Seventeen: Donald Moss (United States)

Karnac Books ePub

 

Donald Moss, PhD has been in private practice in New York City for over forty years. He is the author of Hating in the First Person Plural (2003), Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Man (2012), and At War with the Obvious (in press), and over fifty articles. He is on the editorial boards of Psychoanalytic Quarterly and the International Journal of Psychoanalysis.

 

Present: Donald Moss (DM), Kerry Malawista (KM), Bob Winer (BW)

In September 2014, we travelled by train to New York City to meet with Don Moss. We entered his modern Greenwich Village office, and there in the middle of the room was an oversized black leather couch. Attached to the back of the couch, where the patient's head would lie, were blue fibreglass wings—the kind you would expect to see on a fast sports car. It wasn't the last time that we discovered that Dr Moss has a distinct way of thinking and a mind of his own.

It is a curious circumstance that when people remember the striking moments from their analyses, they are often times when the analyst was in one way or another “human”, and these are generally non-interpretive events that in one way or another express the analyst's interest in the person. From the analysts’ point of view, these would probably not be the most memorable occasions in their work—for analysts, those tend to be moments when an understanding unexpectedly crystallises: “Oh, that's what that's about!” But the patient's response reflects something Dr Moss said, “I think they are alert to you as a person more than you as a speaking person.” There was such a moment for Dr Moss, in his first session with his first analyst: “At some point as I was telling him about this crashing stuff, he kind of closed his eyes as though to indicate it was practically unbearable how much this was, and it was a very, very sympathetic gesture. And I thought, yeah, this is what I want.” Dr Greenberg, in another first session, said to a patient, “Your life seems grey,” which seemed to touch the patient very deeply, and led to the patient deciding to work with him. Obviously, such moments can't be contrived, they will only feel real if they're spontaneous. A patient, narcissistically damaged and quite stuck in his treatment, had just bought a new car. His analyst, with some enthusiasm, asked to see it, and they went outside to check it out. The patient felt sceptical about the enthusiasm, thought it a bit forced and out of character for his analyst, but he appreciated at that moment how hard his analyst was trying to make contact with him, even against his own grain, and it stuck as a very significant moment in the analysis.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781782200727

Chapter Six: Werner Bohleber (Germany)

Karnac Books ePub

 

Werner Bohleber, DPhil, is a psychoanalyst in private practice in Frankfurt am Main. He is a training and supervising analyst, and former president of the German Psychoanalytical Association (DPV). He is the editor of the German psychoanalytic journal Psyche. Dr Bohleber has authored several books and numerous articles. He was the recipient of the Mary S. Sigourney Award in 2007. WBohleber@gmx.de

 

Present:

Werner Bohleber (WB), Kerry Malawista (KM), Bob Winer (BW)

In Prague, we met with the distinguished German analyst Werner Bohleber. In his quiet, warm way, Dr Bohleber shared with us his many years of clinical experience and leadership in the development of psychoanalytic thinking in Germany. Dr Bohleber stressed that an analyst must understand a patient's history and memories in the cultural context in which they occurred. For him, that meant understanding how his clinical work is linked to Germany's Nazi history.

What are we to make of the limits of our understanding if we have not had a particular experience ourselves? In some situations, the gap is obvious—if we have never fought on a battlefield, never been raped, never been fired from a job we cared about, never lost a parent in childhood, never lost a child, we know that our patient's experience of having had this happen to them will always be, in important ways, beyond our ken. Dr Bohleber says that he only really knew about loss “from out of the box” until his son and his mother died (and we don't know which came first). We think that our own understanding of the nuances of parenthood were limited until we became parents ourselves. Dr Kogan gave us her example of this when she recognised the helplessness of her granddaughter in the face of danger. For sure, this doesn't mean that we can't usefully treat someone whose life experiences have been quite different from our own. But where an unfamiliar trauma of one sort or another has been a key part of the story, we know that our ability to “get it” will be incomplete, and it will be useful for us to pay attention to our patient's experience of that gap. We do the best we can, and usually we can do enough to be really helpful. And as some of our interviewees pointed out, there is also a back side to this: having shared the same traumatic experience may lull us into thinking that we understand our patient's experience better than we actually do. In this sense, there are advantages in being a stranger, including, for example, advantages in being from a different culture, so that, so to speak, nothing can be taken for granted.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781782200727

Chapter One: Stefano Bolognini (Italy)

Karnac Books ePub

 

Stefano Bolognini is a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst in Bologna. He is past president of the Italian Psychoanalytical Society and current president of the International Psychoanalytical Association. He is the author of two hundred psychoanalytic papers published in several languages, of specialist books (Psychoanalytic Empathy; Secret Passages: The Theory and Technique of Interpsychic Relations), and of novels (Like Wind, Like Wave; Zen and the Art of Not Knowing What to Say).

 

Present:

Stefano Bolognini (SB), Kerry Malawista (KM), Bob Winer (BW)

We had travelled from Washington, DC, for the January 2013 National Meeting of the American Psychoanalytic Association in New York City—a four-hour train trip. Our plan was to interview Stefano Bolognini and several other European analysts attending the meeting. Early in our session with Dr Bolognini, we learned that he had made a four-hour round-trip commute, Bologna to Venice, for the entire duration of his training analysis. This told us a great deal about Dr Bolognini's determination to become a psychoanalyst and his passion for the discipline. And that passion still comes through: Dr Bolognini is eager to learn new ideas, apply them to his practice, and to fashion his own way of being an analyst.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781782200727

Chapter Thirteen: Jay Greenberg (United States)

Karnac Books ePub

 

Jay Greenberg, PhD is a training and supervising analyst at the William Alanson White Institute and editor of The Psychoanalytic Quarterly. He is co-author with Stephen Mitchell of Object Relations in Psychoanalytic Theory, and author of Oedipus and Beyond: A Clinical Theory. In 2015, he received the Mary S. Sigourney Award.

 

Present: Jay Greenberg (JG), Kerry Malawista (KM), Bob Winer (BW)

It was early June 2014 when we travelled to New York City to meet with Jay Greenberg at his East Village apartment. We had a lively dialogue with him in his spacious living room, only interrupted by breaks for bagels, lox, and coffee. Dr Greenberg has a rigorous and incisive mind, and he clearly enjoys grappling with the many issues of modern psychoanalysis, both theoretical and clinical.

In our response to the interview with Rosemary Balsam, we talked about the shift in the focus of psychoanalytic attention away from what we think, to how we think. Dr Balsam had said that she wanted to give back to her patients a sense of how their minds worked under all the different circumstances. Dr Greenberg describes here how he's much more interested in facilitating a particular attitude towards people's own minds, how they think, how they process experience, and he illustrates this with the case example of the young woman who couldn't hold on to her own train of thought. While Dr Chodorow spoke of the importance of helping patients to organise their historical personal narratives, the influences and events over the course of their lifetimes, here Dr Greenberg is focused on keeping track of how mental processes unfold in the short term, over a few days in the young woman's life. He described how she was able to interrupt her perseverant hatred of her boyfriend that weekend to make a link between what she was doing with him, to the discussion she'd had two days earlier in therapy about being her mother's agent. What seems to have been important to Dr Greenberg wasn't the specific connection between attitudes towards her mother and towards her boyfriend, but rather that she was paying attention to how her mind was working, and could use that to swim to shore. It's a different way of working.

See All Chapters

See All Chapters