34 Chapters
Medium 9781855757554

3 Separating and splitting up

Bokanowski, Thierry; Lewkowicz, Sergio Karnac Books ePub

3

Penelope Garvey

In the final phase of her analysis, Mrs A., who had over the many years of her analysis managed to recover split-off aspects of herself, become more defined as a person, and was able to stand up for herself without feeling humiliated by being seen to have feelings and wants, became increasingly anxious about how she was going to survive the loss of the analysis and feared a return to a state of feeling nothing. She had the following dream:

The car was parked in the yard outside her parent's house. The car caught fire and, afraid that the fire would spread to the house, she called in the air force to bomb it.

Mrs A. bombed the car-which I thought stood for her caring, containing ego-in order to protect me and herself from knowing about versions of me in her mind that could take over and destroy the good feelings that she had about me and her analysis. The bombing broke up and fragmented her ego, propelled out her feelings, and left her feeling nothing. Much has been written about this kind of fragmentary splitting, its developmental origins, and its tendency to reappear in situations of stress. The bombing, as we shall see, occurred not only in her dream. Phantasies do affect reality, and Mrs A. returned to a state that I knew well from the past. Melanie Klein describes something similar:

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Medium 9781855757066

6 - Construction then and now

Thierry Bokanowski Karnac Books ePub

6

Construction then and now

Howard B. Levine

Then

Revisiting a classic paper written more than seven decades ago presents the reader with a unique set of problems and opportunities. One could, for example, approach the text from within the context in which it was written, and try to discern what it meant to its author and his original audience. To do so with this paper might then mean to read it as an important corrective to Freud's theory of therapeutic action. Prior to 1937, Freud had argued that since neurosis was inexorably linked to repression and childhood amnesia, the recovery of repressed memories was a necessary element of psychoanalytic cure. In the “Constructions” paper, he once again refers to this connection when he says:

What we are in search of is a picture of the patient's forgotten years that shall be alike trustworthy and in all essential respects complete. [Freud, 1937d, p. 259]

In order to arrive at this picture, analytic work must take place. For the analyst, this especially meant

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7 - Knowledge as Fact and Knowledge as Experience: Freud's “Constructions in Analysis”

Thierry Bokanowski Karnac Books ePub

7

Knowledge as fact and knowledge as experience: Freud's “Constructions in Analysis”

David Bell

We claim no authority…we require no direct agreement from the patient, nor do we argue with him…. In short, we conduct ourselves on the model of a familiar figure in one of Nestroy's farces…the manservant who has a single answer on his lips to every question or objection: “It will all become clear in the course of future developments.” [Freud, 1937d, p. 265]

Freud's paper raises problems that are much wider than its apparent focus. One's attitude to what it is that the analyst does must have a clear, though not necessarily manifest, relation to what one considers to be the aim of analysis and how one understands the process of change. This in turn trenches upon important debates and tensions within psychoanalysis—between those who consider change to be largely derived from insight and those who foreground the “corrective experience” or the “real relationship”; between those who regard “truth” as an essential dimension of analysis and those who regard the very notion of truth as a comforting and potentially dangerous illusion; between those who think not only of meaning but also of causal structures determining the nature of the human subject and those for whom the very idea of cause is anathema, who see psychoanalysis as a purely hermeneutic discipline.

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6 The “splitting/trauma” pairing: Ferenczi and the concept of trauma

Bokanowski, Thierry; Lewkowicz, Sergio Karnac Books ePub

6

Thierry Bokanowski

If, in the analytic situation, the patient feels hurt, disappointed or left in the lurch, he sometimes begins to play by himself like a lonely child. One definitely gets the impression that to be left deserted results in a split of personality. Part of the person adopts the role of father or mother in relation to the rest, thereby undoing, as it were, the fact of being left deserted. In this play …we get glimpses into the processes of what I have called the “narcissistic split of the self” in the mental sphere itself.

Ferenczi (1931), pp. 475-476

Sándor Ferenczi [1873-1933] contributed many ideas that have had a remarkable impact on the construction of the psychoanalytic corpus, none more so than those he put forward concerning his exploration of the metapsychology of trauma and went on to develop gradually between 1927 and 1933. These were not only ahead of their time; they remain, to this day, remarkably modern in outlook. The hypotheses he suggested-mainly concerning a re-formulation of the concept of traumatic seduction that had been a feature of Freud's work from the very outset-made it possible to specify both the clinical nature of trauma and its structural effects on the mind when splitting (and in particular what he calls in the above extract the “narcissistic splitting of the self”) becomes the principal means of defence.

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Medium 9781855753891

CHAPTER ONE. Method and practice

Thierry Bokanowski Karnac Books ePub

The practice of psychoanalysis derives in the main from the teachings of its founder. Freud was the first to discover the universal nature of the laws that govern the workings of the unconscious, and analysis came quite rapidly to be defined, in practice, as being linked to the transference and the experience of the transference relationship. The therapeutic dimension was attributed to the application of a specifically psychoanalytic approach based on the transference relationship and its interpretation, and its sole justification was seen to be the underlying theory that both explained how it functioned and made it meaningful.

Freud, transference, and the practice of psychoanalysis

In the early days, when the psychoanalytic approach was first being developed, Freud drew up a number of guidelines and technical rules that were to become the mainstay of analytic practice. The validity of these concepts, developed over less than twenty years (1895-1915), has never since been called into question: on the analysand’s side, to respect the fundamental rule (free association and reporting of dreams), and on the analyst’s, the setting (the couch-and-armchair “space”, regular and frequent sessions of fixed length).

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