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CHAPTER FIVE Mário reaches adolescence

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CHAPTER FIVE

Mário reaches adolescence

I

t is now February, 1983. Our sessions continue after a six weeks’ holiday. At the beginning of the year he continues with his list of candidates, which takes about two months to complete and runs to around 58 pages. The sense I make of this “great invention” is that of a manoeuvre that will infallibly maintain neutrality in the face of the threat of my attempts at

“anti-neutrality”. I believe this is the only way he can be with me. If I threaten to get up and leave (fighting against his mental customs), he gets up and leads me from the door back to my seat, asking me to stay. However his use of autistic manoeuvres has somewhat decreased. It seems we have reached a modus vivendi in which he feels bonded to me, does not dismiss me, and is more often able to listen to me.

Session of February 10th, 1983

As soon as he enters, Mário starts to draw up a calendar for

1983.

Analyst: Strange child. Now we’re getting a 1983 calendar.

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3 - Technical Problems of the Analysis

Marisa Pelella Melega Harris Meltzer Trust ePub

In this chapter, we can see the deeper focus on some of the technical problems of this analysis, discussed with Dr Meltzer, as these became especially apparent during the next semester of the analysis, from January 1980 onwards.

Session of January 29th, 1980

Mário enters and immediately starts shouting at me:

Mário: Shut up! Otherwise I’ll cut your mouth or I’ll tie your mouth or I’ll cut your hand! What would you rather have done to you?

And he carries on with the business of filling up a page with numbers in decreasing order, then shows me the CIAM student list (his special school). I ask him if he is still going to study at CIAM this year (a decision to be made before he goes on holiday). He nods and tells me to shut up.

Analyst: You feel I am a threat every time I say something. What do you expect me to do? Am I supposed only to listen to you?

Mário: Right.

Analyst: Like a bucket? I just take in everything you say?

 Mário: Right. If you don't shut your mouth within ten minutes, I’ll cut out your tongue.

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CHAPTER THREE Technical problems of the analysis

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CHAPTER THREE

Technical problems of the analysis

I

n this chapter, we can see the deeper focus on some of the technical problems of this analysis, discussed with Dr

Meltzer, as these became especially apparent during the next semester of the analysis, from January 1980 onwards.

Session of January 29th, 1980

Mário enters and immediately starts shouting at me:

Mário: Shut up! Otherwise I’ll cut your mouth or I’ll tie your mouth or I’ll cut your hand! What would you rather have done to you?

And he carries on with the business of filling up a page with numbers in decreasing order, then shows me the CIAM student list (his special school). I ask him if he is still going to study at CIAM this year (a decision to be made before he goes on holiday). He nods and tells me to shut up.

Analyst: You feel I am a threat every time I say something.

What do you expect me to do? Am I supposed only to listen to you?

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POST-AUTISM

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CHAPTER FOUR Fighting the use of autistic objects

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CHAPTER FOUR

Fighting the use of autistic objects

T

his 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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CHAPTER TWO Applying the post-Kleinian understanding of autistic states

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CHAPTER TWO

Applying the post-Kleinian understanding of autistic states

D

uring the analysis’ fourth semester I started to get acquainted with the picture of autistic mental structure arrived at by Meltzer in Explorations in Autism

(1975). I began to see things going on in the consulting room that I had never seen before. Although Meltzer stated that the analytical technique to analyse children like Mário was the same as with other children, in the beginning I found it difficult to situate myself within the very deep comprehension of the ongoing analytical process that this entailed. My difficulties I believe resulted from a training still insufficiently equipped to make use in the clinic of the concepts introduced by Melanie Klein and extensively taught and often improved by Meltzer himself.

The clinical work with autistic children undertaken by the group of Kleinian psychoanalysts under the supervision of

Donald Meltzer in Explorations resulted in proposing the following modalities of mental functioning in autistic children: a special kind of dissociation that Meltzer called “dismantling”, a notable difficulty with the categories of space and time, an archaic use of

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