166 Chapters
Medium 9781855759534

1 Lucia (May 1993)

Karnac Books ePub

Llufs Farre

T his is a girl who worries me a lot. Her name is Lucia, and she is 20 years old. It was her parents who brought her to analysis after a spell in hospital with a serious anorexic condition. The psychiatrist who saw her there recommended that she should have psychoanalytic psychotherapy as well as the hospital's programme of group therapy for anorexics.

Lucia is of medium height; she has very long brown hair. She could be pretty if it were not for her rigid gait and her cross facial expression. When her parents suggest that I can see her alone, she insists that she has been brought to me against her will, that she does not want to eat and she will not eat, and that she does not want to get better because she will be forced to go back to the university course she was doing last year where she worked so intensely that it exhausted her. She just wants to sleep, stay in bed without moving or eating, and be left alone. She throws back at her parents their complaint that they suffer a lot on her account, while they do not seem to realize that she suffers when she eats. She accuses her father of not having paid attention to her until she became ill, and her sister of torturing her by saying that she is to blame for everything bad that happens at home. She adds that her sister has always criticized what she does, what she reads, what she studies, and that she belittles her. Lucia is scared of her. Before she buys or reads anything, she thinks twice: "My sister said I would not be capable of doing Physics and that any other course was not worth doing. I did the first year, and in June I passed four of the five subjects, which neither she nor my brother ever managed." Not eating has become an obsession. She confesses she has obsessions. When she feels passionate about something, she repeats it many times. She likes films; she saw Dracula recently. She has seen it six times. She has bought seven or eight books on Dracula, as well as the film, the soundtrack, etc. "I do not want to get better. If I do, I'll have to go back to studying/'

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Medium 9781855756199

II. The Epistemological Problem in the Theory of Dreams

Meltzer, Donald Harris Meltzer Trust ePub

While the psycho-analytical literature has almost without exception followed Freud’s lead in the general theory of dreams both as regards their function in the mind as well as the mode of their genesis, the literature of philosophy has been occupied, in so far as it has taken note of the phenomenon of dreams at all, with the epistemological aspect. This seems to take the form of two different sorts of questions: can we know that we are dreaming? and do dreams, as our prime evidence of a world of intuitive mental activity, generate knowledge?

In general the interest in linguistics among the philosophers has centred on defining the limits of language on the assumption that language is both man’s unique differentiating capacity that separates human from animal mentality, and the parallel dicta that anything that can be thought can be said, and anything that can be said can be said clearly (Wittgenstein of the Tractatus). This attitude separated the world of rational thought about observable facts from the world of emotion and intuitive understanding by arrogating meaning exlusively to the former realm. This was not meant to imply that the latter realm was of no importance in human relations but that it did not deal with knowledge and therefore was meaningless in the epistemological sense. It rightly, in a sense, relegated dreams to the vicinity of myths, religions, art as the realm of the ineffable, where this term, meaning inexpressible in words, equated this deficiency of language with the borderline between real and mystical experience. But it wrongly mistook the solipsistic position that one cannot have knowledge of other minds with the parallel assumption that a mind cannot have direct knowledge of itself.

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Medium 9781855756731

Section B: CLINICAL SEXUAL PSYCHOPATHOLOGY

Meltzer, Donald Harris Meltzer Trust ePub

MUCH of the task before us in this Chapter has already been done or adumbrated in Chapter 9, but a certain amount of tracing of implications is still required. It is of particular interest that the psycho-analyst seldom hears much about his patient’s adult sexual relationships, since the transference situation draws to it the associations related almost exclusively to the infantile and perverse aspects of sexual behaviour and phantasy currently contaminating the patient’s sexual life. For this reason, adherence to the primary rule ensures a tactful preservation of the privacy of the adult love life of the patient, and therefore the privacy of his partner.

Recognition of this fact relieves the analyst of part of the pressure of certain countertransference anxieties, of intrusiveness and meddling, while also placing him in a position to recognise that dutiful reporting of sexual activities by a patient is almost certainly a breach of the primary rule involving an acting-in, and possibly -out, of the transference, in which the sexual partner is being made to represent an excluded part of the infantile self. The analyst need never worry about the content of information being withheld by the patient regarding his sexual behaviour, since the moment such withholding takes place the content itself is no longer to the point: the behaviour of withholding itself needs to be the focus of investigation.

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Medium 9781855756731

22. Pedagogic Implications of Structural Psychosexual Theory

Meltzer, Donald Harris Meltzer Trust ePub

INDIVIDUALS are bound to have opinions on all sorts of matters and it becomes a task of introspection and integrity to distinguish between rationalisation of one’s intuitive preferences and derivation of implications from one’s theoretical convictions. The psychoanalyst’s area of expertise is a very narrow one, namely the conducting of psycho-analytical treatments. But the view of life it affords is such a unique one, and so breath-taking in its vista, so sharp in its detail, than the analyst can easily forget the narrowness of method by which the other qualities are purchased.

Therefore psycho-analysts, even more than other scientists—and perhaps in this way like philosophers—are easily drawn out of their laboratories to sermonise, blinking in the unaccustomed limelight. What they have to say must be taken as compounded of concern, deep wisdom and practical ignorance, even where accurate drawing of implications has not given way to partisan rationalisation of intuition.

What is to follow is the distillation from lectures and related seminars for experienced primary school teachers training for work with malajusted children, given at the invitation of the Institute of Education of London University. The emphasis is on the age groups corresponding to latency (6-10), puberty and early adolescence (11-17), and late adolescence (17-25). In discussing the relation of choice of pedagogic method to psychosexual development, I want to concentrate on several different areas of education:

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Medium 9781855752405

2. Experiences of learning with Donald Meltzer

Meltzer, Donald Karnac Books ePub

Shirley Hoxter

In this chapter, I hope to convey to you the very substantial contributions that Donald Meltzer made to the development of the Tavistock Clinic’s training course concerning the psychoanalytic therapy of children and young people. I shall concentrate mainly upon Meltzer’s direct teaching activities, as supervisor and seminar leader in the period between the late 1950s and the mid-1970s. My accounts of these learning events are based largely on my own memories of encountering the mind of such a highly intelligent, original thinker and my personal emotional struggle of slowly learning how to learn from him.

I hope that this may throw some light upon what brought Meltzer and the Tavistock child psychotherapists together and what has continued to hold us together over such a long period. Surviving painful times, this relationship has been maintained even when we have been “absent objects” to one another for long periods.

This conference may be regarded as an affirmation of our relationship and our wishes to maintain it as a living experience. Using the language of Bion’s concepts, I consider that the “container-contained” aspects of our relationship could often be categorized as “symbiotic”, following Bion’s definition as quoted by Meltzer (1978a, Part III): “Symbiotic—the thought and the thinker correspond and modify each other through the correspondence. The thought proliferates and the thinker develops” (p. 111). This seems an apt description of the reciprocal nature of the relationship between Meltzer and ourselves when functioning at its best. By “ourselves” I mean not only the psychoanalytic therapists of children here at the Tavistock, and elsewhere in Britain, but also the many from other lands who have formed a learning relationship with him.

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