228 Chapters
Medium 9781855757844

CHAPTER THREE: Temperature and Distance

Meltzer, Donald Harris Meltzer Trust ePub

Introduction by Neil Maizels

This pivotal paper could be considered an experiment in notation. Selecting a session, with a view to analyzing his own technique, Meltzer attempts to find a way to observe and write down the non-lexical aspects of his communications to the patient. This takes on directly what had previously only been framed indistinctly and indirectly in psychoanalytic theory—the issue of tone, distance and “music” that is conveyed and modulated in the analytic interpretation. Meltzer conveys the possibility, and even necessity, of a constantly refreshed self-refection by the analyst on the internal dynamics underpinning the range of tones intimated in one's interpretative oferings. Whilst this sort of refective adhocracy is often present in supervisory moments, it had never been taken so fully seriously, on an equal footing with levels of anxiety “correctness” in interpretative work.

The paper belongs to the period when Meltzer was beginning to consider more seriously the nature and requirements of psychoanalysis as an art form. This encompasses such problems as crafting a private language, and developing a feel and pitch—through mysterious but ingenious identifications with one's internal guides—for addressing diferent parts of the patient's self, in the heat of the transference drama. It involves a constant re-sculpting of basic principles of technique into a more fexible resonance of holding-tone, within each session, as the analyst struggles with the limits of mere cleverness or adhesive theoretical adherence. This brings up the interesting question of how much of the psychoanalytic craft is teachable in seminars and lectures and how much can only be imbibed and developed through internal identifications.

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Medium 9781912567546

16. Sixteenth Week: Sessions 90–93: The Achievements of the Analysis, with Special Reference to Dependence on Internal Objects

Meltzer, Donald Harris Meltzer Trust ePub

CHAPTER SIXTEEN

Sixteenth week: sessions 90–93

The achievements of the analysis, with special reference to dependence on internal objects

The material that Richard brings in these four days is less dramatic than the previous week with exception of the lovely piece about the umbrella with which Mrs Klein works so beautifully. He tends mainly to peregrinate round different types of material that he brought earlier on in the analysis and a little bit of a dream or really the extension of the dream that he brought on the previous Saturday. In a sense there is nothing very new, no expectation on either part of discovering anything else during these last sessions.

It is all a rather sad reviewing of what they had accomplished and some attempt at making more explicit what they have not accomplished. Richard cannot keep his hands off Mrs Klein and these hands that are caressing and touching her also turn into the crab's claws waiting to fasten on her. This is the clinging material which Mrs Klein had no conceptual framework for developing, but the fear of falling comes out in the parachute material and is discussed in the notes connected with it. It gives an insight into a fundamental insecurity of an extremely primitive sort, underlying the weakness of Richard's ego and his distrust of his mother. This distrust is connected with the dark-blue mummy, this pretty conductress whom he says he ‘wouldn't have’. But one can see that his mother, like the conductress who is accused of saying ‘stand up’, is the mother who expected too much of him in some way, expected him to be too independent, too manly, too potent. Mrs Klein also has tended, in emphasizing his genital conflicts, his castration anxiety, his wish to put his penis into the mummy and explore her inside, expected too much masculinity from him. Something very strongly feminine has not been allowed to develop and perhaps has not fared much better during this analysis, although he has had an opportunity to express it occasionally.

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Medium 9781855759688

16. The geographic dimension of the mental apparatus

Meltzer, Donald Karnac Books ePub

Donald Meltzer

In the model of the mind that I am using the geographical dimension can be subdivided, for phenomenological purposes, into six distinct areas: the external world, the womb, the interior of external objects, the interior of internal objects, the internal world, and the delusional system (geographically speaking “nowhere”). The first five subdivisions comprise areas that have psychic reality. The external world also has a concrete reality which calls forth adaptational processes, fundamentally meaningless. The delusional system is also meaningless in a different way, being delusional in its significances and bizarre in its objects.

To the outside world, beyond our adaptational moves, which are learned largely by infra-mental processes of mimicry (one dimensional) and trial-and-error, we may deploy meaning when the impact of events and objects impinges on us emotionally and are subjected to processes of imagination, that is, to symbol formation (alpha function) and thinking. But we are not limited in this matter to the impact of events and objects; we also have the capacity to deploy emotion and thus infuse with meaning, potentially, events and objects whose impact is not in themselves substantial. In The Apprehension of Beauty [Meltzer & Harris Williams, 1988] I proposed a terminology which grows out of Bion’s affect theory, plus and minus L (love), H (hate) and K (interest, knowing). I suggested that our innate response to the beauty-of-the-world, that is aesthetic responsiveness, contains an integration of all three of these positive links, L, H and K, but that the pain of the ambivalence combined with the necessity of tolerating uncertainty, makes it very difficult to hold these links together. The splitting processes bring relief by deploying the links to separate objects, thus also splitting the, self in its emotional capabilities and experiences. These splitting processes do not necessarily reduce the experiences to an adaptational level—in which thinking about meaning, which necessarily includes value, would be replaced by scheming, logic derived from basic assumptions, and actions aimed at success (triumph).

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Medium 9781855759688

14. The place of aesthetic conflict in the analytic process

Meltzer, Donald Karnac Books ePub

Donald Meltzer

In considering the conflict of emotion aroused by the aesthetic impact of the object, it is necessary to relate this struggle to our exist ing model of the mind in its various dimensions, in the sense of extended metapsychology. Earlier chapters have dealt mainly with the dynamic, economic, genetic and geographical aspects, but aesthetic conflict has an important relation to mental structuring also. Insofar as the conflict over the manifest exterior and the ambiguous interior of the object stirs the epistemophilic instinct, it clearly makes an important— perhaps the major—contribution to the shaping of the place of K in the balance of L, H and K in the knowledge-seeking life of the individual. Melanie Klein and Bion, in particular, have traced the importance of the qualities of the object with regard to the evolution of the superego functions of internal and external objects. The vigilance, intelligence and incorruptibility of these objects are surely the infantile basis of honesty; for long before an ethical preference can be embraced, despair of being able to deceive one’s objects enforces integrity. The policeman at one’s elbow is an essential bar to self-deception; love of the truth comes much later.

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Medium 9781912567669

5. Alpha-Function and Beta-Elements

Meltzer, Donald Harris Meltzer Trust ePub

In the previous chapter we examined the approach to a theory of thinking that had been forced upon Bion from two directions, one coming from the torrent of new phenomena that he was observing in his application of the strict psychoanalytical method to the treatment of schizophrenic patients and the other coming from the manifest inadequacy of existing theory to cover these phenomena. By ‘cover’ it is not meant to convey ‘explain’ as much as ‘organize’ for the purpose of coherent description. As Bion says in Learning from Experience:

It appears that our rudimentary equipment for “thinking” thoughts is adequate when the problems are associated with the inanimate, but not when the object for investigation is the phenomenon of life itself. Confronted with the complexities of the human mind, the analyst must be circumspect in following even accepted scientific method; its weakness may be closer to the weakness of psychotic thinking than superficial scrutiny would admit (p. 14).

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