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Chapter Six - The Elusive Elixir: Aspects of the Feminine in a Male Patient

Elphis Christopher Karnac Books ePub

CHAPTER SIX

The elusive elixir: aspects of the feminine in a male patient

Margaret Hammond

Introduction

I am in a department store, where an elixir has been advertised. I am with a woman. The elixir consists of two phials, each containing a substance, and they must be mixed together, to produce the potion. I look at the ingredients, which are just spirits of salts and water. I am doubtful, but try anyway. They fizz, and I drink the resulting liquid. It tastes like Eno's. I am very disappointed.

This was the dream of a patient called John which appeared nearly six years into his analysis. Jung placed the psychology of the transference, and the mixing of analyst and patient within it, at the centre of his thinking on the analytic process. This dream, with its two phials, its two substances, the man and the woman, the promise of the elixir, the fermentio, and subsequent disappointment, sets the scene for the drama of mixing and separating out within the analytic container, which I will try to describe in this chapter. In the dream, the coming together of the substances, the coniunctio, leads to loss and disillusionment. What was advertised as the elixir of life, a magical feeding, turns out to be a mere cure for indigestion. I will explore this idea of magical feeding, which was deeply embedded in an archetypal image of mother, in whom everything was encompassed, self, mother and anima, but which was, of course, indigestible and unattainable, and led to disillusionment and despair. I will describe how differentiations gradually emerged, heralded by events in the transference, and illustrated in a series of vivid dreams, which appeared at crucial stages in the work. The dreams describe the evolution of the internal situation, regulated by the operation of the self, and acted on, from the outside, by a great struggle in the transference, to separate out self and other, mother and child, lover and beloved. This struggle was painful and disturbing to both analyst and patient but formed part of the dialectical process of change as the internal and external worlds interacted.

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Clinical explorations: the self, its defences, and transformations

Solomon, Hester McFarland Karnac Books ePub

This section comprises five clinically based accounts of intensive analytical work with patients, or supervision of patients, in T long-term intensive analysis.

Chapter 6, “The not-so-silent couple in the individual”, examines the nature of the self, with its foundation in the concept of a primary self, which may achieve a sense of coherence over time, and the nature of internal objects, a concept that forms the basis of theories concerning part selves and sub-personalities. These concepts might be integrated to provide a unified model of the self, thereby integrating theoretically disparate aspects of mental structure and functioning. Through an examination of clinical material, the archetype of the coniunctio is evoked to offer an understanding of how, in the absence of a stable conjunction of (maternal) reverie and (paternal) thinking functions, a series of linked but oppositional internal couples may be created, which lends to the self either the experience of a combined and sustaining inner couple, or an internal warring couple, to the detriment of an integrated self.

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Chapter One - An Oedipal Struggle towards Individuation

Elphis Christopher Karnac Books ePub

CHAPTER ONE

An oedipal struggle towards individuation

Eleanor Cowen

”…there appears before you on the psychological stage a man living regressively, seeking his childhood and his mother, fleeing from a cold cruel world which denies him understanding. Often a mother appears beside him who apparently shows not the slightest concern that her little son should become a man, but who, with tireless and self-immolating effort, neglects nothing that might hinder him from growing up and marrying. You behold the secret conspiracy between mother and son, and how each helps the other to betray life.

…There is in him a desire to touch reality, to embrace the earth and fructify the field of the world. But he makes no more than a series of fitful starts, for his initiative as well as his staying power are crippled by the secret memory that the world and happiness may be had as a gift—from the mother.…It makes demands on the masculinity of a man, on his ardour, above all on his courage and resolution when it comes to throwing his whole being into the scales. For this he would need a faithless Eros, one capable of forgetting his mother and undergoing the pain of relinquishing the first love of his life”

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Chapter Twelve - Between fear and Blindness: The White Therapist and the Black Patient

Elphis Christopher Karnac Books ePub

CHAPTER TWELVE

Between fear and blindness: the white therapist and the black patient1

Helen Morgan

Introduction

This paper is an attempt by a white psychotherapist to consider issues of racism and how they might impact on the work in the consulting room. There are two main features of this first statement that I want to emphasize by way of introduction. The first is that I intend to explore questions of difference in colour, and not issues of culture. This is not because I believe that matters of cultural differences in the consulting room are not interesting, or that culture and race are not often conflated, but rather that there is something so visible, so apparent, and yet so empty about colour, that to include a discussion of culture can muddle the debate and take us away from facing some difficult and painful issues. A black patient may come from a culture more similar to my own than a white patient, yet it is the fact of our colours that can provoke primitive internal responses that are hard to acknowledge and face.

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Chapter Fourteen - Some Thoughts on Supervision

Elphis Christopher Karnac Books ePub

CHAPTER FOURTEEN

Some thoughts on supervision

Jean Pearson

“What I suppose we shall go on calling ‘supervision’ is actually a shared fantasy. It is the resultant of the trainee trying to imagine what he and his patient have been doing together and the supervisor is trying to imagine too. It works best if both remain aware that what they are jointly imagining is not true. But both can profit enormously, both can enjoy the experience as well as suffer and there is teaching and learning to be found in this joint imaginative venture as there is in therapy itself”

Zinkin, 1988

This thought-provoking statement of Jungian analyst Louis Zinkin, although perhaps deliberately overstated, comes closest to expressing my own experience of supervision. The impossibility of achieving an objective perspective on human behaviour had begun to impinge on me during my undergraduate years as a psychology student, before my entry into the professional world of psychodynamic social casework and later on, psychotherapy. The observer's presence inevitably affects the interaction which is being observed. As John Urbano (1984) observes, the value system of the therapist will affect the therapeutic relationship with a client and, by implication, will also affect the reporting of his work in supervision. Likewise the value system of the supervisor in turn will affect both the therapist and the patient.

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