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10. Contemporary Perspectives

Steven J. Ellman Karnac Books ePub

10

 

Contemporary Perspectives

Heinz Kohut

There is much in what we have gone over in this section of Freud's writings that Kohut has departed from in his ideas of analytic practice. The most obvious example is patient selection. When he began to write articles about patients with “narcissistic” difficulties, Kohut pointed out some of the problems with psychoanalytic views of narcissism. Kohut's new emphasis is important to understand in order to appreciate his thoughts about analyzability. It is Kohut's contention that analysts tended to follow the altruistic value system of Western societies and see all aspects of narcissism as negative. This limited view both puts the analyst in a normative position and more importantly is a misleading theory of human development. In Freud's theoretical writings, there is a stipulated tension between narcissism and object relations (see Chapter 4) such that the more an individual is narcissistic, the less object-related that individual can be. This necessary link between object relations and narcissism is questioned by Kohut,1 and this questioning leads him to view narcissism as having its own line of development. In his theoretical understanding there is an important interplay between the development of internalized object relations and the development of the self as a cohesive structure. Kohut's conceiving of the self as a psychological structure, having a separate line of development, allows him to see the possibility of people with narcissistic difficulties being object-related. Freud concluded that, insofar as one had narcissistic difficulties, object relations were canceled out, and Kohut corrects that conclusion.

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3. The Transference Papers

Steven J. Ellman Karnac Books ePub

3

 

The Transference Papers

The Dynamics of the Transference1

(1912)

The almost inexhaustible subject of ‘transference’ has recently been dealt with in this Journal by W. Stekel in a descriptive manner.2 I wish to add a few remarks in order to make clear how it happens that the transference inevitably arises during the analysis 1 and comes to play its well-known part in the treatment.

Let us bear clearly in mind that every human being has acquired, by the combined operation of inherent disposition and of external influences in childhood, a special individuality in the exercise of his capacity to love—that is, in the conditions which he sets up for loving, in the impulses he gratifies by it, and in the aims he sets out to achieve in it.3 This forms a cliché or stereotype in him, so to speak (or even several), which perpetually repeats and reproduces itself as life goes on, in so far as external circumstances and the nature of the accessible love-objects permit, and is indeed itself to some extent modifiable by later impressions. Now our experience has shown that of these feelings which determine the capacity to love only a part has undergone full psychical development; this part is directed towards reality, and can be made use of by the conscious personality, of which it forms part. The other part of these libidinal impulses has been held up in development, withheld from the conscious personality and from reality, and may either expend itself only in phantasy, or may remain completely buried in the unconscious so that the conscious personality is unaware of its existence. Expectant libidinal impulses will inevitably be roused, in anyone whose need for love is not being satisfactorily gratified in reality, by each new person coming upon the scene, and it is more than probable that both parts of the libido, the conscious and the unconscious, will participate in this attitude.

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Chapter Sixteen

Steven J. Ellman Karnac Books ePub

Arnold D. Richards and Arthur A. Lynch

Summary

This chapter is primarily a review of the movement from Freud's structural theory to modern conflict theory. It covers authors such as Arlow and Brenner in more detail than in any other chapter of the present volume. The chapter also details the controversies that led to some of the formulations that present day conflict theorists have presented. Some of the material overlaps Chapters Four, Five, and Seventeen, but the viewpoint is quite different. In the present chapter, the main perspective is showing how various influences led to contemporary conflict theory. In Chapter Seventeen, the self and object Freudians are featured, and in Chapters Four and Five theorists are discussed without reference to contemporary conceptualizations.

Introduction: brief history

Ego psychology is rooted in the third and final phase of Freud's theorizing (Rapaport's [1959] classification), and takes The Ego and the Id (1923b) and Inhibitions, Symptoms and Anxiety (1926d) as its foundational works. More specifically, it grows out of Freud's final model of the mind, the structural hypothesis of id, ego, and superego. Levy and Inderbitzen (1996) aptly define ego psychology in terms of the underlying assumptions of Freud's structural hypothesis:

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Chapter Fifteen

Steven J. Ellman Karnac Books ePub

“… several things dovetailed in my mind, and at once it struck me, what quality went to form a Man of Achievement … I mean Negative Capability, that is when man is capable of being in uncertainties, Mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason”

(Keats, 1817)

“To put it in a formula: he must turn his own unconscious like a receptive organ towards the transmitting unconscious of the patient”

(Freud, 1912e)

Introduction and summary

A key concept in the work of Wilfred Bion is that of “linking”: it is fundamental in his understanding of the development of thinking and the development of the mind; the mechanism for thinking thoughts in the analysand, as well as a crucial element in a mutative interpretation on the part of the analyst. Linking can also be seen as inherent in the development of his own thinking about the work of psychoanalysis, in that he brings important elements from the work of Freud forward and links them to concepts from Melanie Klein, as well as the contemporary Kleinian Hannah Segal, and links all of them to his experience working with groups and psychotic patients.

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Chapter Five

Steven J. Ellman Karnac Books ePub

Summary

T his chapter brings together two analysts (Anna Freud and Heinz Hartmann) who were perhaps the two most influential Freudian theorists from 1940-1960 and beyond. Their theoretical efforts were frequently labelled as ego psychology, since the Freudian theory that they promulgated began from Freud's structural theory (Chapter Four). Hartmann and Anna Freud were initially the main explicators of Freud's move to , and their clarification and development of help to make it the dominant theoretical influence in the USA. It is hard to understand the import of both Hartmann and Anna Freud without making some attempt to recreate the atmosphere that faced both these theorists in the mid 1930s.

Freud, at this point in time, was quite ill, and was to die in 1939. Melanie Klein was in England and having a substantial impact on the members of the British Psychoanalytic Society. European psychoanalysis was dominated by Freudian theory, but there was unease about considering Thanatos, or the death instinct (see Chapter Four), a central psychoanalytic concept. The idea of a death instinct, while embraced by Klein, was certainly not finding strong acceptance in the Freudian community. Moreover, while Freud had proposed during the 1920s, few writers (including Freud) had shown the clinical relevance of Freud's newest theory. (Nunberg [1931] extended the idea of ego functions to include the synthetic function. Glover's paper on inexact interpretation in his book on technique [1955] to some extent utilized the new concepts embedded in the structural theory.) It remained for Hartmann and Anna Freud to begin to plumb the implications of . In 1958, Hartmann published Ego Psychology and the Problem of Adaptation, and Anna Freud, in 1936, The Ego and the Mechanisms of Defence (the English translation of which was published in 1946). These two works signalled a much fuller acceptance of the structural theory, particularly in the USA. Both of these volumes paid considerably greater attention to the conscious experiences of the patient. While the main focus of Freudian theory was the unconscious, both Anna Freud and Hartmann made the elementary but necessary point that one can only theorize about unconscious tendencies based on certain conscious experiences or actions. In the language of the structural theory, the unconscious is mediated through the ego and known through the preconscious and conscious aspects of the ego. Both Anna Freud and Hartmann also subtly but decisively rejected the idea of Thanatos, much to the disappointment of Freud. Freud, in “Analysis terminable and interminable” (1937c), noted that a number of analysts did not accept his instinct theory and he seemed clearly upset, particularly since some of the revisionists were his closest supporters.

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