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CHAPTER SIX: A clinical paradox of absence in the transference: how some patients create a virtual object to communicate an experience

James Rose Karnac Books ePub

James Rose

Introduction: a clinical paradox

It is comparatively common that someone will come to an initial therapeutic consultation describing themselves as depressed; I suffering from a lack of confidence and feeling devoid of ambition. There seems to be nothing inside them. Their psychic life can appear to be pervaded with an anomie to the point that it seems surprising to the assessor that they have bothered to come to the consultation at all. Often there is evidence of disrupted family history early bereavements, and separations. Despite the seemingly traumatic nature of these losses, these are often dismissed as unimportant because they happened “so long ago”. In short, the assessor can see many reasons for their depressed state of mind, but there is an apparent gulf between that person’s and the assessor’s understanding that seems unbridgeable. It can leave the assessor feeling hopeless and impotent, feeling that he has nothing to give or contribute. There is, thus, an apparent emptiness in the counter-transference, which can seem the result of a deficit of functioning in the subject and it can appear that this person will not be able to use treatment because of their incapacity to symbolize or to reflect upon their experience, i.e., that there is something missing in them.

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Chapter Five: Internal Objects Considered As Strange Attractors in the Non-Linear Dynamical System of the Mind

James Rose Karnac Books ePub

Graham Shulman

But men may construe things after their fashion, Clean from the purpose of the things themselves.

(William Shakespeare)

In this chapter, I discuss a specific set of circumstances in which the damaged internal object can exercise a perturbing and determining influence on the relationship to reality and the development of the capacity to differentiate internal and external reality. Drawing on the concept of the strange attractor from chaos theory, I suggest that the damaged object in such circumstances operates as a strange attractor in the mind. I describe a clinical case of once weekly psychoanalytic psychotherapy with a seven-year-old child to illustrate these themes.

The conjunction of internal and external realities

The lines from Shakespeare which I have used as an epigraph to this chapter encapsulate a core dimension of the psychoanalytic field of enquiry: that is, the ways in which people may unconsciously “construe things after their fashion” in terms of their “purpose”/meaning in both the internal and external world. The development of the sense of reality, and, in particular, the differentiation of internal and external reality, has its roots in early infancy and is a gradual, fluctuating, and never absolute achievement. Problems in the differentiation of internal and external reality may arise for a variety of reasons. Most common in the psychoanalytic literature is the theme of confusion of internal and external reality consequent upon excessive projective identification (Bion, 1962, p. 32). I shall consider another source of difficulty in the differentiation of internal and external reality, associated with the effects of the damaged object in a particular constellation of internal and external worlds.

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Chapter 5: psychosocial disturbances

James Rose Karnac Books ePub

We have already seen that there is a difference in the way adolescents are perceived between those who take a sociological perspective and those who look at the experience from a psychological point of view. Up to now we have taken much more of a psychological approach; it is time to look at the sociological perspective. In the broadest of terms, from this point of view we can see that going through adolescence is a disturbing experience for the individual adolescent, but how this is expressed varies a great deal. What partly determines how it is expressed are the opportunities available, which can be called the causes of psychosocial disturbance.

However, it may be more helpful to think of them not so much as causes but as situations that create opportunities for the emergence of disturbances within individual adolescents. Thus the availability of drugs, the social construction of peer groups, the quality and nature of the educational system, the availability—or lack—of employment provide opportunities for adolescents to express their antisocial tendencies. The fact is that by no means all adolescents take advantage of these opportunities, and only a minority do so to the degree that their behaviour becomes a problem to themselves and to those around them.

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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.

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CHAPTER TWO: The third: a brief historical analysis of an idea

James Rose Karnac Books ePub

Charles M. T. Hanly

In what follows, I try to clarify historically the idea of the third in philosophy and in psychoanalysis. It is an account that has its own point of view, the evidential justification of which, of necessity, is only scantily presented. The exposition suggests an agreement and differences between the various philosophical thirds and the psychoanalytic thirds found in this issue. Even the agreement that emerges is at present controversial. I make no claim that this exposition of the topic escapes the influence of the controversy. My purpose is to provide background and to raise questions.

The third in philosophy

Peirce (1903) introduced the term the third into philosophy. Of itself, it has nothing directly to do with any psychoanalytic notions of thirds, of triadic relations, or of triangular “space”. It is simply the notion of meaning captured in general concepts, their nature, and their crucial place in knowledge.

* First published in 2004 in Psychoanalytic Quarterly. 73: 267–290.

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