33 Slices
Medium 9781780491042

3. The fame of psychic life: reviewing a two-year observation twenty years later

Mariza Leite da Costa Harris Meltzer Trust ePub

Mariza Leite da Costa

The infant I shall call Caio was unplanned – the result of a forgotten contraceptive pill. Thus, from the beginning, he was considered a disruptive force, an intrusion into the life of his parents, both professionals in their late twenties. They had come to London a month before the delivery with the intention of staying for three years. They embarked on this new stage in their lives because the father planned to do his doctorate and the mother was to study English in order to apply for her Master’s. They had left behind successful jobs, family, friends, a warm climate and a high standard of living.

Caio was the couple’s first child. He and his mother had a difficult start. The pregnancy was complicated: the mother endured constant morning sickness and described it as a “real nightmare”. Caio´s delivery was also stressful. The labour was lengthy and exhausting, lasting twenty hours before the delivery had to be induced. When Caio arrived he bore marks on his forehead from the forceps and the mother noticed further bruises. What hurt her at the beginning was the feeling of loneliness. She felt isolated and without support, despite the husband having been with her in the delivery room. She experienced the birth as horrific and Caio’s arrival stirred up many different emotions. I understood the help of extended family was available to her, although she had refused it. The nightmare seemed to last beyond the pregnancy and appeared to contain the germ of a vital misfit.

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Medium 9781782204657

6 - Overcoming a Preformed Transference

Donald Meltzer Harris Meltzer Trust ePub

(1996)

Paulo Cesar Sandler

Giulio, aged 40, came to analysis a year and ten months ago, having four sessions a week. He is the last of six siblings (the eldest male, with four sisters in between), and father of three sons and a daughter born during six years of marriage. A Brazilian national who also enjoys a foreign citizenship, Giulio had privileged educational opportunities both in Brazil and abroad, and has risen to the top of his engineering profession.

As soon as we begin our first consultation, he spontaneously starts to tell me about his family of origin, mainly about his deceased father, who trained in business administration in Sweden at a time when this was rare in Brazil. He came from a landowning class going back to the colonial era and where large families were a mark of status. A wellknown and well-respected man in the Brazilian elite, he is described by Giulio as an emotionally distant person, a ‘typical South American macho’, prone to adopt authoritarian rules and to boasting about his relations with influential people. When his sons reached adulthood he lived with a former secretary – ‘a beauty’ – until the end of his rather long life. One of the father's many demands was that his sons had to be outstanding sportsmen, preferably Olympic standard; but none of them could fulfil this ambition for him.

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Medium 9781780491394

4 - Fighting the use of Autistic Objects

Marisa Pelella Melega Harris Meltzer Trust ePub

This chapter covers a period (1981–1982) in which I focussed on the problem of dealing with Mário's use of autistic objects, and made some experimental explorations. From April 1981, I decided to make my presence more emphatic in order to tackle this problem. It seemed it was not enough to simply speak aloud, to ponder, to show that I am present; this approach still tolerated the use of autistic objects. So from this time, when he came in and started telling his stories or enumerating his lists, I tried standing up myself, in a more confrontational way.

When I saw, for example, that he was listing a numerical sequence with an interval of four figures, I spoke the next number in the sequence, showing him that I had solved the riddle. He became furious, hitting me and trying to wrestle back control by forcing me to go back to “my place”. On other occasions he would threaten me, assaulting me with the cushion, the footstool, the box, kicking out and climbing onto the table so that he felt more powerful than me.

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Medium 9781782204657

8 - Confusional States and a Childish Erotic Transference

Donald Meltzer Harris Meltzer Trust ePub

(1996)

Marisa Pelella Mélega

The case of Brigitte was first presented to Meltzer in 1996 at a supervision seminar in Sao Paulo. Seven years previously, I was sought by a 32-year-old woman who had a two-year-old son and was suffering intensely both in her role as a mother and within herself. Brigitte was a petite, good-looking brown-haired woman, who instantly expressed herself much more through emotional signs (anguished sighs, tone of voice, exclamations, loud laughter, scared glances) than verbally. She made it clear she had come for analysis for her own sake because she felt fragile and had great difficulty when faced with separations, frequently becoming desperate.

During the first year of analysis (with four sessions a week) she had a great need to talk about commonplace events, apparently without any great emotional content, until she would end up sobbing convulsively and shouting, completely changing track. Then she begged to relate very painful episodes in her life such as, for example, the fact that her father was in prison, or the death of her nanny, who died when she was eleven, and whom she viewed as her own mother. I would feel completely overwhelmed by the narrative, which rose to a crescendo until the explosion mentioned above, when I could crawl out from under the barrage and speak.

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Medium 9781782204657

5 - The Birth of a Baby and Premonitions of the Depressive Position

Donald Meltzer Harris Meltzer Trust ePub

(1996)

Alfredo Colucci

The diagnosis of this patient, whom I will call Roberto, was clinical narcissism. He is almost 40 years old, has been in analysis for a year and a half, and has four sessions a week with me. I will not hand out copies of this material even though the patient has given me his permission to present it here.

Donald Meltzer: Just out of curiosity, if the patient had not given you his permission, what would you have done?

Alfredo Colucci: I would have talked about another patient.

DM: I am interested in this question regarding confidentiality. Would you ask his permission to submit this material to an ordinary supervision?

AC: No.

DM: Would you ask the patient's permission to talk to your wife about this case?

AC: No, I would not either.

Participant: His wife is an analyst.

DM: I was not talking about the colleague; I was talking about the wife. This issue of confidentiality is so complex that it becomes a little hypocritical.

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