38 Chapters
Medium 9781855754515

Chapter 3: sexual development: having sex, having intercourse, and making love

Rose, James Karnac Books ePub

We have already noted that, for the individual adolescent, puberty “turns up” at some time between the ages of 10 and 16. We might say that the arrival of puberty is the business of early adolescence, regardless of the chronological age at which it actually arrives. The business of mid-adolescence is the commencement of the process of absorbing the emotional consequences of the physiological changes that occur.

The change in the physiological body, entailing it now being sexually mature and capable of reproduction, is a momentous change in its psychological impact and its impact upon others. Because the body now looks different, people can easily expect the newly changed young person to be different. Different they will, of course, be—but not necessarily in the way that is expected. We can say that the task of early adolescence is to accept this new potency, and that of mid-adolescence is incorporate it into a new way of being with oneself and, in turn, being with others. This is partly because others will expect new things of the mid-adolescent. The title of this chapter is intended to summarize the tasks of sexual organization during adolescence, beginning with recognition that the young person is capable of having sex, but this is not seen as being something in which one engages with another person. One might say that it is thought of as an activity—at its most primitive—in which one engages with another person as a body, but the person of the other is not significant. The idea of intercourse introduces the idea of being with another person, and being sexual has a psychological significance as well as a physical one.

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Medium 9781855755901

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

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?

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Medium 9781782204336

Chapter Two: Experimental Psychology and Psychoanalysis: What We can Learn from a Century of Misunderstanding

Karnac Books ePub

Paul Whittle

This chapter is a personal and informal ethnography of the subcultures of psychoanalysis and experimental psychology. It is a case study in incommensurability, and was written out of frustration with the incomprehension that each side displays toward the other. The two disciplines shared many common origins, but each now views the other, by and large, with indifference or hostility. I sketch some reasons why their relationship generates discussions, such as those concerning the scientific status of psychoanalysis, that are like trains passing in the dark. I make some tentative suggestions as to why we may always need such different styles of psychology, and for what different goals, and personal and sociological reasons, we have developed them. I make even more tentative suggestions as to what, if anything, we should do about it.

Since it derives its structure and its liveliness from the occasion, it is being published as a record of the talk, with informal style and local allusions, rather than in more conventional journal-article format. Two subcultures. Second, it was an example of the subcultural differences I was talking about. Natural scientists like to talk with minimal notes, prompted by their visual aids, and often encourage interruptions from the audience. They believe they are reporting their interaction with nature, their words and diagrams being merely transparent media, and that their informal style testifies to their openness and honesty. In arts contexts or in psychoanalysis, these assumptions are thought naïve, and “talks” are generally read from finished scripts. As a boundary-hopping scientist, I often feel excluded by this style. I can't keep up, and I often want to interrupt and query the assumptions. I miss the more open interaction of a scientific seminar. Nevertheless, I found myself doing it. These different attitudes to language are a key to what is going on.

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Medium 9781855755901

CHAPTER EIGHT: Some conclusions

Karnac Books ePub

James Rose

This book is intended to be a brief tour of the ways in which symbols have been thought about by psychoanalysts over the past century or so. We began with a brief statement by Freud. He reflects the state of psychoanalysis at the time he wrote the paper. It was struggling to establish itself in the early part of the twentieth century and this partly meant substantiating the claim for a particular view of the unconscious. Perhaps Freud’s boldest proposal was the idea that dreams were intelligible, but there were others, too, which can seem as extraordinary today as they seemed then. Not least of these was that the unconscious of one mind can be in communication with another unconscious. The creation of the psychoanalytic setting, and the adoption of a stance of free-floating attention by the psychoanalyst as he listened to the free associations of the patient, allowed a new perspective to emerge. By being out of the analysand’s field of view, Freud placed himself in a position to listen to the unconscious of the analysand as it spoke to him.

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Medium 9781855758148

CHAPTER NINE: The presence of absence in the transference: some clinical, countertransference, and metapsychological implications

Karnac Books ePub

James S. Rose

Introduction

It is comparatively common that a young person will come to a consultation describing themselves as depressed, suffering from a lack of confidence and feeling devoid of ambition. 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, they are often dismissed as unimportant because they happened “so long ago”. In short, the assessor can see many reasons for the young person’s depressed state of mind, but there is an apparent gulf between the young person’s and the assessor’s understanding that seems unbridgeable and leaves the assessor feeling hopeless and impotent. Often, the apparent emptiness in the countertransference can seem the result of a deficit in functioning, and it can appear that this young person will not be easy to help because of their incapacity to symbolize or to reflect upon their experience.

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