38 Slices
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
Medium 9781855754515

Chapter 6: emotional disturbance

James Rose Karnac Books ePub

In chapter 5 we saw that the frequency of delinquency seems to rise to a peak during the mid-teens and then begins to drop. What was also clear from the statistics was the gender difference, in that males seem much more likely to offend than do females. In this chapter we think about the frequency of mental disturbance as it appears in the general population, to see whether we can learn something about the kinds of emotional difficulties young people of this age can experience.

When it comes to thinking about emotional disturbance, we tend to think of signs other than offending. It seems clear that this does cause emotional disturbance as well as being caused by it. However, apart from offending, it is depression, self-harming, and suicide that seem to be the most worrying signs that a mid-adolescent is feeling disturbed. Here, again, we find a gender difference.

In Table 6.1 we can see that there is an enormous increase in the rate of suicide and unexplained death in the 15–24 age group, compared to those 14 years old and younger. Furthermore, the numbers and rate of increase are far greater for boys than for girls.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781855755901

CHAPTER FOUR: Symbols and their function in managing the anxiety of change: an intersubjective approach

James Rose Karnac Books ePub

James Rose

Introduction

I begin with the idea that the symbolic functioning available to an individual determines the way he or she anticipates and experiences change. I have indicated in my title that I shall take an intersubjective approach to thinking about symbols, so I would like to set out my reasons for bringing in this perspective. The current debate about subjectivity in psychoanalysis begins with the recognition that the encounter in the consulting room is a meeting of two minds. It seems to me that this fact has to be incorporated somehow into an understanding of the process by which a psychoanalyst helps a patient come to know his or her own mind. Goldberg (1998) has suggested that a plethora of different attempts to take on board this fact of the psychoanalytic endeavour have led to an agreement that “the fluidity of the exchange of information in messages between patient and therapist does not allow one to isolate either the one or the other as a fixed point in order to gain access to some reliable set of mental contents” (p. 215). When taken into thinking about the psychoanalytic encounter, there is thus a theoretical conundrum, created by the acceptance of an analyst’s subjectivity. If an analyst’s perception of reality is open to doubt as a result of the analyst’s subjectivity does psychoanalysis become an impossible profession?

See All Chapters
Medium 9781855758148

CHAPTER FOUR: Subjectivity, objectivity, and triangular space

James Rose Karnac Books ePub

Ronald Britton

The author reviews his ideas on subjectivity, objectivity, and the third position in the psychoanalytic encounter, particularly in clinical work with borderline and narcissistic patients. Using the theories of Melanie Klein and Wilfred Bion as a basis, the author describes his concept of triangular space. A case presentation of a particular type of narcissistic patient illustrates the principles discussed.

The acknowledgement by the child of the parents’ relationship with each other unites his psychic world, limiting it to one world shared with his two parents in which different object relationships can exist. The closure of the Oedipal triangle by the recognition of the link joining the parents provides a limiting boundary for the internal world. It creates what I call a “triangular space”, that is, a space bounded by the three persons of the Oedipal situation and all their potential relationships. It includes, therefore, the possibility of being a participant in a relationship and observed by a third person as well as being an observer of a relationship between two people. . . .

See All Chapters
Medium 9781855754515

Chapter 8: on bullying and being bullied

James Rose Karnac Books ePub

Being bullied is one of the most common causes of human unhappiness and can occur at any time of life. The mid-adolescent is especially prone, because this is a time in life when a mature character is not yet formed. Every day adolescents meet up with their equally immature peers in settings that are intrinsically competitive in terms of pecking orders and territory. If we remember the constant confrontations between the young men of the Montague and Capulet families in fourteenth-century Verona as depicted in Romeo and Juliet, we can get a context for the situations in which bullying can occur.

Not for nothing does the Jets’ song in West Side Story go as follows:

When you're a Jet,
You're a Jet all the way
From your first cigarette
To your last dyin’ day.

When you're a Jet,
If the spit hits the fan,
You got brothers around,
You're a family man!

You're never alone,
You're never disconnected!
You're home with your own:
When company's expected,
You're well protected!

Then you are set With a capital J,
Which you'll never forget
Till they cart you away.
When you're a Jet,
You stay a Jet!

See All Chapters

See All Slices