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Chapter Seven - The Macbeths: a Childless Couple?

Jacobs, Michael Karnac Books ePub

CHAPTER SEVEN

The Macbeths: a childless couple?

Father and daughter, father and son—these have been prominent themes in earlier chapters. Coming to Macbeth one of the major issues, at least as posited in psychoanalytic writing, is the principal characters' childlessness. Instead, it is often commented, the parent–child relationship is played out within the marriage of Macbeth and his wife.

This, for example, is the argument put forward by Hildebrand in a chapter titled “The Caledonian tragedy” (2006). Hildebrand chooses his title from one of several alternative names used in the theatre for Macbeth, since there is a superstition amongst actors that the actual name of Shakespeare's tragedy should never be spoken aloud in a theatre. Better known is the title “The Scottish Play”, although there are others that Hildebrand refers to, such as “Harry Lauder”, “That Play” or “The Unmentionable”. Citing material from a book on the play by Huggett (1981), Hildebrand refers to a history of disasters associated with the staging of the play: “theatres collapsing, actors falling ill, being injured in stage fights, running away, breaking down and actresses miscarrying” (Hildebrand, 2006, p. 44). Actors playing the leading roles are said to have died soon after the play opened and many productions have been associated with dreadful experiences for the cast. Because of the play's popularity, it was often thought that the company must be about to close when it was put on, because the management were trying to get the audience into the theatre to save the company from financial collapse. There have apparently been actual deaths in stage duels; and The Royal Shakespeare Theatre at Stratford-on-Avon burned down in the 1930s on the night following a performance of Macbeth.

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CHAPTER NINE: Have we lost fate?

Jacobs, Michael Karnac Books ePub

Having some years before delivered the lecture from which the previous chapter is taken, it was a surprise when I found myself honoured in a similar way, although it was quite clear this was not to be an annual memorial lecture since I was asked to deliver the first Michael Jacobs lecture myself at the University of Leicester in 2006! Nevertheless, it was a strange experience, and remains so when more distinguished people than myself deliver the lecture in subsequent years. Why did I choose Fate? Perhaps because, as I suggest in the previous chapter, any fame I might have achieved is only partly of my doing. Opportunities have come my way, Fate has played its hand; and although I might have taken those opportunities, nevertheless I would not have got anywhere without others opening doors that enabled me to find more of myself, and therefore have the privilege of following through my ideas in a more public arena than most people can. The subject also appealed because it enabled me to dig around in some of the earlier psychoanalytic literature, and to examine what others, similarly interested in the topic, had made of it. I seldom write anything new; I do, perhaps, bring the old to life.

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CHAPTER TWO: Our desire of unrest

Jacobs, Michael Karnac Books ePub

The influence and the ongoing relevance of some of my theological education become obvious in a number of the papers I have written. For those not familiar with the use of biblical sources, I do not regard the “truth”, whether historical or doctrinal, as important but, rather, the significance of the metaphor or the symbolic use of the language. This is especially true in reading the paper that forms the basis of this chapter, delivered first to a theological society at Manchester University, and published subsequently in the journal then titled The Modern Churchman (Jacobs, 1987). It is the theme that is important, whether addressed to theologians, therapists, or others. That the theme resonates for me many years on from its inception is instanced not only in taking the paper's title as the title of this book, but that it is explicitly or implicitly present in most of my papers.

* * *

Although there are some who live in apparent chaos, or whose lives appear chaotic, most people do not like too much disorder. Some (particularly those who are possessed of an obsessional personality) do not like it at all. This is not surprising, since from early infancy we seek a sense of security in a bewildering world and erect safe defences against what can be at times terrifying experiences that threaten to disrupt our equilibrium.

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CHAPTER TEN: Amaturing professional approach

Jacobs, Michael Karnac Books ePub

The paper that has been adapted for this chapter was published in 1990. Coming back to it after all this time, I find that some of what I was writing in the lecture that is reproduced in Chapter One is very much the same. Does that mean I have not moved on? I think not, since my desire of unrest in 1990 with the way I perceived some training for counselling and psychotherapy, and my desire of unrest years later in that lecture are the same. However, there were points where I felt less bold in 1990, and I have found myself revising those in editing the paper for this book.

What interests me further about this paper is that the marks of the mature practitioner predate a few of the definitions of how a mature practitioner might be defined, which appeared in a summary I wrote of discussions of a BACP working party on the difference between counselling and psychotherapy. The working party agreed that the key differences were not so much in the names themselves, but in the quality of the practitioner, which could mean a mature counsellor worked at a higher (deeper?) level than a new psychotherapist. Training and supervision do make a difference, of course, but the labels were less important than the standards of practice (or, as we called them, the standards of excellence) that practitioners had reached. In a short article for BACP, I concluded with the working party's definition of a mature practitioner, as someone who shows:

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CHAPTER FIVE: The therapist's revenge: the law of talion as a motive for caring

Jacobs, Michael Karnac Books ePub

It is almost customary for therapists who write to thank their patients or clients—and rightly so, since the most stimulating learning (which with adaptation is often transferable to other client work) comes from insights or ideas that emerge in the material that clients bring to therapy. This paper was one such, solely brought to life by the case example of Brenda (not, of course, the client's name, although the details are factual). Brenda provided another example that I was able to use in teaching and in a different book, although one that taught me to take greater care in disguising client material so that even the client herself could not recognize it. I will say no more, except to say I was very grateful to a co-therapist who handled that situation so well that Brenda and I emerged on good terms. It was my mistake, but I wonder whether there was a type of revenge in the incident. On my part, of course, for being in debt to her for the idea she planted and that bore fruit in what at the time seemed (and perhaps is) original.

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