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1 Between Freud and Klein

Limentani, Adam Karnac Books ePub

TO BE INVITED to speak in memory of Anna Freud, or if I preferred, on Melanie Klein’s contribution to British psychoanalysis, presented me with an almost impossible choice which provoked a wave of memories as distant as they were still alive in myself.

I owe it mostly to chance to be in the position of being someone who appreciated the qualities and gifts of these two exceptional leaders, without the tie of loyalty that goes with the full acceptance of an orthodox system such as the Freudian or the Kleinian. As far as Anna Freud is concerned, the support given to me by colleagues over the years allowed me to meet her to an extent which could not occur with Melanie Klein. In this presentation, however, I wish to offer my impressions, gathered over many years from the time I was a candidate in training to the drastically different position of being a psychoanalyst nearing the end of his career.

I shall also attempt to expose some of those anxieties and indecisions attributable to belonging to the Independent group of the British Psycho-Analytical Society, also known as the Middle group.

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16 Variations on some Freudian themes

Limentani, Adam Karnac Books ePub

AS WE HAVE REACHED the end of a long week in the course of which most of you have been working very hard, I felt that in this address I should offer you something of a diversion. All I propose to do is to share some thoughts that have occurred to me during the last few years on all kinds of subjects that matter a great deal to all of us. I may have already published some of them in one form or another, but the majority of them are casual reflections or old annotations hurriedly scribbled on a scrap of paper in response to contributions from colleagues and patients. What I have to offer could well be regarded as somewhat iconoclastic but wisdom does not come with age, as Bernard Shaw once said. Only experience increases as we get old and that can be oppressive or liberating.

As we approach the end of the century, psychoanalysis appears to become even more difficult than we ever suspected. Some of the changes that have been introduced have certainly not been easy to accept. Yet whenever a more audacious view, possibly a challenge to classical analysis, is put forward, it is de rigueur to quote Freud, no matter how often he had already contradicted or altered that view himself. The haunting thought for most psychoanalysts is: What would Freud have said about this or that?

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9 The significance of transsexualism in relation to some basic psychoanalytic concepts

Limentani, Adam Karnac Books ePub

I INTRODUCTION

TRANSSEXUALISM HAS HITHERTO been largely ignored by psychoanalysts as being a defence against homosexuality or a bizarre and rare disorder of gender identity. In recent years a serious problem has arisen as a result of the publicity afforded to sex change operations and the unwelcome glamorization of such operations. The accumulation of clinical reports and information has not been accompanied by a substantial advancement in our theoretical understanding of the condition. When theory fails to develop at the same pace as clinical practice there will inevitably be adverse repercussions often leading to dangerous generalization and reflecting on the handling of, and approach to, each individual case.

The aim of this paper is to deal with those aspects of transsexualism which seem to challenge basic psychoanalytic concepts, and in particular castration anxiety, the oedipal complex and the role of conflict especially in relation to gender identity formation.

A further purpose is to stimulate amongst psychoanalysts the formation and expression of the psychoanalytic point of view. One recalls the time when prefrontal leucotomy was being hailed as a great advancement in the treatment of the mentally ill, neurotic and psychotic alike. This treatment is seldom used now and if lessons from the past are to be of value then a repetition of the indifference and laissez-faire attitude which was prevalent in the profession at that time should be avoided.

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13 On some aspects of human violence

Limentani, Adam Karnac Books ePub

AS VIOLENCE APPEARS to have a particular attraction for human beings, not all its manifestations should be regarded as abnormal. Let us consider, for instance, acts committed in the course of wars, revolutions, and even terrorism, when a different view will be taken according to the side taken by the observer.

My interest in this theme is derived from a sense of unease caused by serious contradictions about what experts have to say on this topic. Some will argue that any attempt to understand human violence is a waste of time, whilst others insist that we should take into account the rights of individuals against those who wish to protect the interests of the community, and so on. I do not wish to appear an alarmist, even if I refer to the unchecked increase in violence in all kinds of societies right across the globe. On the other hand, I feel that we should not ignore the fact that many of us no longer feel safe in the environment in which we live. The prevalence of violent material offered by the media to the public, whether it is based on fact or fiction, needs to be justified and explained. It is possible that these so-called artistic expressions, or the desire to disseminate the truth, are not harmful; indeed, it will be contended that they provide a useful outlet to the aggressivity of the majority. Others will observe this phenomenon with apprehension and fear. Ernest Jones tried to assume an unbiased position, in 1915, when he posed many questions in his essay on ‘War and sublimation’: ‘In war, things are done by a large number of men on both sides, of a kind that is totally foreign to their accustomed standard of ethical conduct during peace, and the question arises, what is the source of the impulses thus vented and the relationship to the controlling forces of civilized life?’ Jones goes on to note that

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2 The Orpheus myth as reflected in problems of ambivalence and reparation in the oedipal situation

Limentani, Adam Karnac Books ePub

I ORPHEUS OBSERVED

MANY YEARS AGO I had a patient who was identified with Orpheus. The identification with the Poet-Hero of classical antiquity came to light suddenly and unexpectedly at the end of the fourth year of a psychoanalysis which my patient, whom I shall call Mr A, had requested on account of deep depression, inability to use his intellectual resources and a tendency to find himself rejected by men and women.

Mr A believed, with some justification, that all his problems were due to the fact that, owing to the war, he had been separated from his parents for long periods from the age of two and a half onwards. His state of mind during those early years could be reconstructed in the analysis when, during the first three years, Mr A would often phone the analyst late at night, ‘just to hear [his] voice’. In due course this was understood as an attempt to resuscitate the analyst who was felt as having died during the unbearable twenty-three hours’ separation. The only improvement at the time of the session I wish to report was shown by the abandonment of a search for a homosexual solution to his problems and the development of a well defined heterosexual disposition. Just as he was beginning to feel more secure in his dealings with women, Mr A suffered one more rejection as a result of his unwillingness to commit himself. The young woman with whom he had been in love for some time had finally married someone else. Mr A came to his session after attending the wedding ceremony, looking depressed but unusually willing to talk about his feelings, claiming that this time he had really lost everything. Admitting that he felt extremely jealous of the newly wedded couple, he insisted he was fully justified in feeling sadistic and murderous.

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