13 Chapters
Medium 9781782203148

Chapter Five - From Fairbairn to the Planet Neptune: Reverie and the Animistic Psyche

Karnac Books ePub

Mark Gundry

This chapter was conceived in reverie. My own conscious intentionality came second to wonder, and allowing myself to be immersed in a state of not-knowing. I felt unsure how the ideas would develop. An unknown factor moved me into a play of thoughts relating to the subject. I chose to trust this animating movement despite feeling exposed and uncertain. The chapter's conception therefore evinces the heart of its arguments: reverie opens us to the unknowable, while paradoxically eliciting our desire to understand and make contact with what we do not yet and in some cases can never know. It also elicits our desire to recollect a forgotten reality: the elemental aliveness or animism that moves in the psyche and in the world. Psychotherapy gives these elements of reverie a ritual space. Here the therapeutic couple find themselves initiated into the living reality of the psyche. Both participants begin to wonder, to question, to recollect, and to feel contact with an animating reality often obscured by personal and cultural biases and the psychic deadness that results from these biases.

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Chapter Seven - Infant Observation as a Pathway towards Experiencing Reverie and Learning to Interpret

Karnac Books ePub

Gisela Klinckwort

Allow me to begin my presentation with a parable from the Talmud of Rabbi Simlai:

A child in his mother's womb, what is it similar to? Lying there he is like a folded notebook. He has his hands on both his temples, both his elbows on both knees and both his heels over his buttocks. His head is between his knees, his mouth is closed and his navel is open. He eats what his mother eats and drinks what his mother drinks: he doesn't defecate for that could kill his mother.

As soon as he comes out into the air of the world, that which was closed is opened and that which was opened closed. If this weren't so, he could not live, not even a single hour. And a light burns above his head and he looks and peeks from one end of the world to the other end of the world. (Mayer, 1963, p. 501, my translation)

What do those studying in a Talmudic school do together with their Rabbi? They struggle to grasp the importance and meaning of the text that lies beyond the letters on the page, the pictorial description, and to understand it. Together as a group they try to reach the meaning of the text through the process of studying it. The metaphor of the folded notebook that lies there, what does it mean? Is that a symbol for a person unfolding, someone who entered the world with some notes—that is to say, imprinting—already written? Is this shorthand for “pre-conceptions”—that is to say the expectations in the baby that want to be realised, to use Bion's terminology?

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Chapter Ten - Courage and Sincerity as a Base for Reverie and Interpretation

Karnac Books ePub

Clara Nemas

I would like to present in this chapter some ideas about matters that have been occupying my mind in recent years that relate to the subject at hand.

I am concerned at the moment with the qualities needed to be, and to go on being, a psychoanalyst in this era of uncertainties. Long-term contact with patients, personal questioning at this point in my life, and my interest in thinking about certain issues in psychoanalysis that lie at the frontier between clinical practice and ethical problems, led me to consider courage and sincerity as necessary—not sufficient but necessary—qualities of the psychoanalyst's mind and of the psychoanalytic part of the personality. I don't think of them as given or crystallised attributes but as a constant work in process.

As psychoanalysts, we think of the analytic process as a road, a search meant to bring us nearer a truth, mainly truth in relation to ourselves; as Betty Joseph says: Be prepared to know how things are hitting you. Because only that is going to enable you really to face what is going on in other people. This aspiration is what leads us to be concerned about our motivations, to think about our emotions, and to examine our ethical position, as well as to question the authenticity with which we fight for our passions. However, the supposition that we have achieved these aims is a function of our arrogance. Keeping up the struggle to hold these aspirations, above and beyond the achievements, is a function of our courage.

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Chapter Nine - The Couple

Karnac Books ePub

Donatella Lisciotto

To see what I want I have to dream it. It's called daydreaming, you know? It's just as if my entire body is sleeping. It all happens naturally. It's like a gift. Something God gave me.

My mum wakes me up slapping on my face and stops me from thinking.

—Paolo, eight years old

One way to express an emotion is to discover a corresponding image that gives shape to the feeling. At times, from a state of reverie, one may receive an image during a session that comes up suddenly and has a strong sense of truth in itself. Freud called the substitution of an image for a concept or feeling “formal regression” (1900a, p. 548).

In reverie, there is a strong connection between sense impressions and images. A perception that hits our senses, to paraphrase Grotstein, causes a something that will (or could) become a thought. We might say that in reverie one turns sense impressions into images. Reverie, in a process resembling a circumnavigation of the mind, gathers peripheral perceptions and uses them to represent the previously unformed.

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Chapter Eleven - Working with Stone, Working with Psyche: The Role of Reverie in the Process of Making Art and Working with Patients

Karnac Books ePub

Shierry Weber Nicholsen

Introductory remarks

This chapter had its origin in the request that I give a talk about the role of reverie in making my stone sculpture and in working with my patients. When I delivered the talk I was very intent on speaking directly to the audience, an audience composed primarily but not entirely of clinicians. Although some of the marks of oral presentation have been edited out of the present version, the material still bears the traces of this initial context; the reader will still sense that I am addressing the audience members—now readers—directly, trying to make the process I am describing vivid for their imaginations.

My aim is to give you, the reader, a sense of reverie at work, both in the making of art and in analytic work with patients. In doing so I will try to describe reverie without referring to psychoanalytic theory or using technical terms, as the other papers in this volume will do that. And although I am both a stone sculptor and a psychoanalyst, I will be speaking primarily about working with stone, and I will stress the similarities between making art and working with patients. (There is no need to stress the differences. It is obvious to all of us that a piece of stone and a person are very different indeed.) Many of the things I will say about the role of reverie in my stonework will immediately evoke analogies to working with patients, and when I speak about reverie in analytic work I will do so as an analogy to working with stone. In this way I hope the similarities will become very clear. In this way, too, I hope not only to shed light on reverie and how it functions but also to make the process of making art more understandable for clinicians. We look at works of art, at least I do, and say in wonderment, “How on earth did the artist do that?” I will do my best to convey “how the artist does that”, and reverie is a very important part of that “how”.

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