50 Chapters
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8. Contributions to Reality Testing (1942)

Balint, Michael Karnac Books ePub

I. REALITY TESTING IN A CASE OF SCHIZOPHRENIC HALLUCINATIONS

FOR years I had under analysis a woman patient suffering from schizophrenia. I have two reasons for describing the analytical solution of one of her hallucinatory periods. The first is that this solution was, so to speak, the turning-point of the treatment; the other that it brought to light interesting clinical material relating to the problem of reality testing.

At the time of the events described in this paper, my patient was about 45 years old, married, the mother of two daughters. She had been under treatment for about 3J years, including, however, several rather long interruptions. Her principal symptoms were: (a) she was very reserved, cautious and shy; (4) at times her shyness increased to such a pitch of anxiety that she could hardly move; then almost everything in the world, every object, every event, even the most innocent happening, might release a very severe attack of anxiety; (c) from time to time she had periods of hallucinations which were always auditory; such periods were always preceded by a time of increasing anxiety, the hallucinations appearing at the climax. The periodicity was quite obvious; in her good periods she gave the impression of being an almost normal woman, maybe a little too shy, while in her bad periods she was very fidgety, painfully restless, her hands fumbling about perpetually without a moment’s pause; or she sat absolutely motionless, obviously deeply absorbed in the expectation of an alarming hallucination, and when it came she jumped up panic-stricken, her whole body trembling with anxiety.2

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Medium 9780946439119

3. Critical Notes on the Theory of the Pregenital Organisations of the Libido (1935)

Balint, Michael Karnac Books ePub

1

ACCORDING to our present theory, the first outline of which appeared only in the third edition of Freud‘s Three Contributions 2 in the year 1914, the two developments—that of sexual aims and that of sexual object-relations—run parallel to each other. It is not expressly said, thereby, but only tacitly assumed, that the biological nature of the leading component instinct, the gratification of which at the time is the most important because it causes the greatest pleasure, decides unequivocally the form of the child‘s object-relations. According to this the chief stress was laid on the changing instinctual aims and their respective sources, that is to say, on the biological aspect. The question of how and why these leading instincts succeed one another was never seriously raised by a psychologist, and consequently never investigated either. Here also our theory strove to shelve the problem and to await the explanation from biology. My Dresden paper 3 also originated from this tendency. Our colloquial usage is under the same influence: we not only speak of the primacy of the oral, anal, genital component instincts respectively, but also of oral, anal and genital love. This parallel is somewhat broken up by the fact that still another stage, called the polymorphous-perverse, is assumed to exist before this succession of development begins. But, according to theory, there is also a preliminary stage of object-relations, or rather two stages: auto-erotism, in which the child has as yet no object at all, and narcissism, in which he takes his own ego as first love-object. Only by the way is it then mentioned that oral object-relations can be observed very early, that, in fact, it is impossible to separate them in time from auto-erotism. I wish to emphasise that we shall often meet this kind of uncertainty in dating.

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7. Individual Differences of Behaviour in Early Infancy and an Objective Method for Recording Them (1945)

Balint, Michael Karnac Books ePub

A. THE PSYCHO-ANALYTIC APPROACH

PSYCHOLOGY and biology are unanimous that ‘the child is father of the man’. To psychology this means that the behaviour, character and personality of the adult all have their origins in childhood.

In spite of the great practical importance of this for education, psychologists were not particularly interested in the child or in the processes that make a man of him until the discoveries of Freud and, somewhat later of the behaviourists, fundamentally changed the situation. Both psycho-analytic and be-haviouristic thinking are essentially genetical; a mental phenomenon is explained by tracing it back to a past phenomenon and by showing how the original has been changed into the present one by external and internal influences. This process of tracing back has to stop at one point or another. The two disciplines differ in a very interesting way in their attitudes in this respect.

The first halting point for psycho-analysis, one of paramount importance, was the Oedipus situation. Freud came, very early in his studies,2 to the conclusion that the child of 3-5 years has in many respects almost the same desires, feelings, urges and drives as the adult. This was a bold assumption, but Freud was soon able to verify it both through the study of the conscious and unconscious reminiscences of adults,3 and through direct observation of the child.

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Medium 9780946439331

VI Reality Testing

Balint, Michael Karnac Books ePub

IT is obvious that neither the philobat nor the ocnophil is fully justified in his picture of the world. They both rely on faults and omissions in their testing of reality. If it were not so, we should all enjoy—or abhor—in the same way the same pleasures and the same thrills.

We must now turn to the question of what enables one to maintain, against the testimony of one’s experience, that there are people who hold the exactly opposite view—that, for instance, roundabouts are either highly enjoyable or, on the contrary, horrid. The answer is that to a certain extent everyone mixes up external reality with his own internal world; that is to say, we all take our reactions and attitudes at any one time as proper and trustworthy indicators of what actually is happening in the external world. It would be easy to call this mixing up of external and internal realities a survival from the narcissistic period which tries to form the world in its own image. Although to some extent this is true, our problem remains unanswered; we have still to find out how this faulty reality testing is possible and why it persists in an adult.

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16. Sandor Ferenczi (1948)

Balint, Michael Karnac Books ePub

THE early history of psycho-analysis is full of tragic events and tragic lives. Indeed, it was the heroic age of our movement. Perhaps the most tragic, the most moving history of all is that of Sandor Ferenczi.

This is a bold statement. Neither the many friends won by his radiant, lovable personality, nor the inexhaustible wealth of his ideas, nor the unchallengeable successes of his scientific career, seem enough to justify such an opinion. Although he was Freud’s junior by seventeen years, Ferenczi became, in an incredibly short time—a matter of only a few months—perhaps the closest friend of the master, and was for many years his inseparable companion on his jealously guarded holiday journeys. Among the quickly growing host of analysts, Ferenczi attained—as a matter of course—a special place of respect, and he was loved and admired by everyone all the world over. Except for Freud, perhaps no one contributed so many and such fundamentally new ideas to our science; Ferenczi’s contributions belong, to-day more than ever, to the classical works of psycho-analysis.

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