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(A) Some examples drawn from the experience of collaborators

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Axelle: a countertransference equal to anything1
Case reported by M.-F. Castarède

This analysis had been going on for more than twenty years. After various attempts to find a suitable setting, the face-to-face situation proved to be the most favourable option. The patient led a very restricted life, unlike her brothers and sisters. She lived alone, had broken off her studies, and took care of the children of quite close friends. She had no relations with people of her own age. She seemed satisfied to look after children, with whom she said she had a “self-evident” relationship—that is, she had the feeling that she understood them instinctively, without any difficulty.

She had only one passion in her life, music, which no doubt had a lot to do with the countertransferential attachment of her therapist, who was a psychoanalyst and musicologist. But it should also be added that the therapist recognized in her patient elements that reminded her of aspects of her own history, hence the particular attachment she felt for this case. For a long period of time the therapeutic relationship was sustained by long letters from the patient to her therapist, who showed admirable patience and managed to keep the therapeutic relationship going, avoiding attempts to break it off.

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4: Projection

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4

Projection

From Projective Identification to Project

The verb to project, the adjective projective, the nouns projection and project do not belong exclusively to the terminology of psychoanalysis. These terms are used in a number of other disciplines; ballistics, physics, geometry, architecture, and physiology all attribute their own specific meanings to projection. Even philosophy, thanks to Condillac, has a theory of projection, according to which ‘sensations, felt originally as simple modifications of the mental state, are then “projected” outside of the self (that is to say, localized at points in space other than where the thinking subject imagines himself to be), and only then acquire the appearance of independent reality’ (Lalande, 1951). This description brings us quickly to the heart of the problem: the relationship of projection to reality via the medium of appearance. Psychoanalytic theory, which is based on clinical experience, thanks to Freud, lays claim to the concept of projection by specifying it. It is regrettable, however, that Freud either abandoned the idea of clarifying this concept or destroyed the rough draft of the paper which was to have been included in the Metapsychology. Since Freud, there has been no shortage of contributions to the theory of projection. The concept of projective identification has dominated the metapsychology of Melanie Klein and her pupils, most notably Bion (1967). For some time the writings of psychoanalysts have featured a term long considered the preserve of Sartre and his disciples and, even more recently, of molecular biology: the project.

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1: Psychoanalysis and Ordinary Modes of Thought

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1

Psychoanalysis and Ordinary Modes of Thought

In an unfinished work written in London during the autumn of 1938, Freud wrote: ‘Psychoanalysis has little prospect of becoming liked or popular. It is not merely that much of what it has to say offends people's feelings. Almost as much difficulty is created by the fact that our science involves a number of hypotheses – it is hard to say whether they should be regarded as postulates or as products of our researches – which are bound to seem very strange to ordinary modes of thought and which fundamentally contradict current views. But there is no help for it’ (Freud 1940b, p. 282). Freud is alluding here to the unconscious. He explains that the resistances to the unconscious are not only due to a moral censorship but to an intellectual one as well, as if its existence threatened reason and logic. In this opening chapter I will try to show that the progression of Freud's work compelled him to recognize the existence of modes of thought even more extraordinary then he could have expected when he proposed his first hypothesis on the unconscious.

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CHAPTER SIXTEEN: Recent suggestions concerning the treatment of cases resistant to the therapeutic effect of analysis

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An overall view of the technical positions defended by psychoanalysts concerning the dangers to which analytic treatment is exposed reveals great disparity. The first observation, one I have already made, is that the authors point to the fact that the current population of analysands, or, more broadly, those who turn for help to psychoanalysts, does not constitute a homogenous mass but, on the contrary, forms a diverse ensemble depending on the types of structure to which they are attached. In other words, the time is over when neurosis was the exclusive model of analytic activity and when it was important to distinguish a plurality of typologies, which, taken together, formed a composite image of the analytic population. To this heterogeneity of structures there often corresponded a pluralism of techniques. This diversity was not only to be explained by the global situation of polymorphism, but also by the options chosen by psychoanalysts, not to mention the local traditions which proposed different ways of distinguishing the diverse categories of patients, of comparing them, of treating them, and so on.

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6: Moral Narcissism

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6

Moral Narcissism

Virtue is not merely like the combatant whose sole concern in the fight is to keep his sword polished; but it has even started the fight simply to preserve its weapons. And not merely is it unable to use its own weapons, but it must also preserve intact those of its enemy, and protect them against its own attack, seeing they are all noble parts of the good, on hehalf of which it entered the field of battle.

HEGEL The Phenomenology of Mind

 

Because you have no inkling of these ills;
The happiest life consists in ignorance.…

SOPHOCLES Ajax

OEDIPUS AND AJAX

The legendary heroes of antiquity provide the psychoanalyst with an inexhaustible source of material of which he does not hesitate to avail himself fully, Usually he calls upon these lofty figures in order to embellish a thesis. I will work from an opposition that allows each of us to refer from a memory, to a common example that might then recall one or another of our patients. Dodds, in his book The Greeks and the Irrational (1951), opposes the civilizations of shame to the civilizations of guilt. It is not irrelevant to recall here that according to Dodds the idea of guilt is connected to an interiorization, we would say an internalization, of the notion of fault or sin: it is the result of divine transgression. Shame, however, is the lot of fatality, a mark of the wrath of the gods, of an Ate, a merciless punishment barely related to an objective fault, unless it be that of immoderation. Shame falls upon its victims inexorably: without doubt one must inpute it less to a god than to a demon – infernal power. Dodds ties the civilization of shame to a sociotribal mode in which the father is omnipotent and knows no authority above his own, whereas the civilization of guilt, moving toward a relative monotheism, implies a law above the father's. In each of the two cases even the reparation of the fault is different. The passage from shame to guilt is a road leading from the idea of impurity and pollution to consciousness of a moral wrong. In short, shame is a fact where human responsibility barely plays a part: it is a lot of the gods, striking the man liable to pride or hubris, whereas guilt is the consequence of a fault; it carries the sense of a transgression. The first corresponds to the talion ethic, the second to the ethics of a more understanding justice.

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