38 Slices
Medium 9781782204336

Chapter Nine: Some Conclusions

James Rose Karnac Books ePub

James Rose & Graham Shulman

Overall, this book seeks to make the case that we must accept that the mind does not work in a simple linear way. The papers produced in this book have looked at various ways in which the ideas derived from chaos theory can be used to think about clinical phenomena; how they can have technical implications for thinking about how psychoanalysts work and why the psychoanalytic method has the impact that we observe it does in practice. A central idea has been that of the strange attractor observed in the functioning of a complex non-linear dynamic system. This has implications for psychoanalysis because it gives rise to a new model for understanding psychic reality. Further, it gives us a means of understanding how the psychoanalytic method reveals this structure of psychic reality.

In summary, the new perspectives of a complex systems approach to the understanding of the psychoanalytic process can be summarised as:

This book is part of a series called “Psychoanalytic Ideas”. How the reader of this book responds to the ideas in this book will be an experience unique to each individual and will be unquestionably subjective. If it stimulates the reader to some new ideas, it will have achieved its purpose.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781855754515

Chapter 4: identity and peer groups: fashion and “youth culture”

James Rose Karnac Books ePub

We have already seen how young adolescents have to cope with a sense of a new body and how they incorporate this new body into a sense of themselves. This process inevitably alters their relationship with their parents and families. There is a way in which they seem to grow away from their families and want to be as unlike them as they can be. As an expression of this movement, images of adolescent icons abound in the media—often with an apparent intention to shock the older generation.

Compare the images shown here with the description by Anna Freud of the arrival of adolescence:

Whereas the latency child (approximately five to eleven, twelve years) had begun to show definite and well-circumscribed character and personality traits, the pre-adolescent (approximately eleven, twelve to fourteen years) is once more unpredictable. Where the latency child has become modest, reasonable and well-mannered with regard to food, the pre-adolescent reacts with greed and demanding-ness; insatiableness in pre-adolescence frequently leads to thefts of food and sweets. Similar changes occur in almost all the spheres of the child's life. Pre-adolescent boys in particular are known to be dirty in their lavatory habits and negligent in their clothing. Cruel and bullying actions are regular occurrences; so are mutual masturbation, the seduction of younger children, and sexual compliance towards older playmates; destructive acts, thefts and robberies are carried out alone or in company with others. Within the family the preadolescent causes disharmony by his selfishness and inconsiderateness; in school he is frequently in trouble because of his lack of interest in the school subjects, his inability to concentrate, his ir-responsibleness and insubordination. In short, the whole promising process of adaptation to the environment seems to have stopped short. What parents and teachers are confronted with is once again the full, undiminished impact of the instinctual forces within the child. [A. Freud, 1949; emphasis added]

See All Chapters
Medium 9781855754515

Chapter 9: starting to get organized: leaving mid-adolescence to enter the world of others

James Rose Karnac Books ePub

“I must create a system or be enslav'd by some other man's”

from “Jerusalem” by William Blake.

As mid-adolescence draws to a close, we begin to see an increasing sense of integration as the adolescent starts to relate to us in a more organized way. The task for an adolescent is to find a way of engaging with and being effective in the adult world. This entails finding ways of being with others in such a way that both achieve fruitful ends. This encounter with the world of others enables a process of internal organization through which ambitions and desires can be realized, given the limits imposed by reality. In doing this, the adolescent's developing internal organization permits the emergence of a sense of identity: the adolescent's sense of who they are.

When this is happening, you may find that they start to talk to you in a new way. An impulsiveness of thought and a sense of compliance with you, or reaction against you, will seem to have given way to something more balanced, allowing their own mind and your mind to exist together effectively and happily. No longer is there an implicit but constant struggle. Something seems to have become more organized, and a new kind of cooperation seems possible.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781855754515

Chapter 7: on being„and being allowed to be„immature

James Rose Karnac Books ePub

In the first chapter of this book, Donald Winnicott was quoted as saying:

What I am writing here (dogmatically in order to be brief) is that the adolescent is immature. Immaturity is an essential element of health at adolescence. There is only one cure for immaturity and that is the passage of time and the growth into maturity that time may bring.

Immaturity is a precious part of the adolescent scene. In this is contained the most exciting features of creative thought, new and fresh feeling, ideas for new living. Society needs to be shaken by the aspirations of those who are not responsible. If the adults abdicate, the adolescent becomes prematurely, and by false process, adult. Advice to society could be: for the sake of adolescents, and of their immaturity, do not allow them to step up and attain a false maturity by handing over to them a responsibility that is not yet theirs, even though they may fight for it. [Winnicott, 1968]

These words can easily be misunderstood, and this usually happens because of the mindset of the reader. When Winnicott says that there is only one cure for immaturity, he might be thought to mean that we must accept that we cannot intervene in or accelerate a process, which will proceed in its own time. The metaphor of laying down wine in the cellar and leaving it to mature undisturbed might come to mind.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781855758148

CHAPTER TEN: Couples, doubles, and absence: some thoughts on the psychoanalytical process considered as a learning system

James Rose Karnac Books ePub

James S. Rose

Introduction

The fundamental therapeutic aim of psychoanalysis is to enable an analysand to learn about themselves in the context of the presence of an other. As a consequence, I think we can say that we all work within a learning system, which we create when we start a treatment. This chapter seeks to explore some aspects of the psychoanalytic learning system. By aspects, I specifically mean the concepts of the couple, the double, and the presence and absence of the psychoanalyst and patient from one another, which I shall try to define as characteristics of the relationship between psychoanalyst and patient in the psychoanalytic process. Let us begin with the notion of the couple.

Essential to this learning system is the fact that two people— psychoanalyst and analysand—meet regularly in a particular setting that to the outsider seems to vary as little as possible. Seeing these two as a couple does not in itself seem very remarkable. But, in so doing, there is the obvious implication that they occupy distinct complementary roles in a system whose task it is to learn about the analysand. Hence, the notion of this couple, exploring their differences and experiencing their presence and absence from one another, gives the “couple” a context capable of bringing the concept to life. When stated like this, it can make psychoanalysis sound like a cognitive process, or simply an exercise of consciousness which, of course, it must, in part, be. This is because there is something missing—the unconscious. To my mind, we need to be able to conceptualize how one unconscious can communicate with another if we are to capture the essence of psychoanalysis. Of course, this is not to say that there is no reference to this in the psychoanalytic literature. However, its conceptualization is not, perhaps, as systematic as it could be. Without this, psychoanalysis can appear to the outsider to be a purely cognitive exercise, rooted in consciousness. This suggests that we need something more descriptive of the psychoanalytic situation. More, that is, than the couple.

See All Chapters

See All Slices