13646 Chapters
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Medium 9781855754584

8: Babies in groups: the creative roles of the babies, the mothers and the therapists

Karnac Books ePub

Campbell Paul and Frances Thomson Salo

Babies and parents spend quite a considerable time in group contexts, and babies have been in group situations or interacting with each other since the beginning of time. In this chapter we look at some ways that four kinds of groups using a psychoanalytically informed group therapy model could be therapeutic. In an earlier paper we discussed the development from 1990 of a mother-baby therapy group particularly from the perspective of the way a baby might take the lead in therapeutic work and is therefore present as an equal member (Paul & Thomson-Salo 1997). Since we started that group there have been many developments, with an increasing acknowledgement of broader social relationships, and of connectedness with babies. In this paper we will consider developments in therapeutic work with infants in groups that retained the idea of viewing the baby as subject in his or her own right. Three others groups grew out of this model that we describe: the Very Premature Babies Group, the Stargate Infant-Parent Group (for infants who were in care for the first time), and the Peekaboo Club (for mothers and infants who had witnessed violence in the first year of life).

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Medium 9781782200383

Chapter 6: Faith and Catastrophe

Eigen, Michael Karnac Books ePub

Chapter Six

Faith and Catastrophe

Disaster or catastrophe must be recognized as a fundamental category of human existence. Death and debility can strike at any time. Things do not go as we want. We worry about survival. We worry about how well we will survive.

The sense of disaster permeates our beings. It runs through our bodies. It is part of the atmosphere we breathe. We are told not to be afraid, but fear is part of our equipment. We are taught from early on to lie about fear, to make believe we are not afraid, to act as if everything is normal. It is normal to feel danger as part of situations. Fear and danger can heighten sensitivity to moment-to-moment living and make us feel more alive.

Too often Freud is caricatured as imagining people ought to be untroubled pleasure-seekers. Nothing could be further from the truth. The world he portrayed was riddled with pain and sorrow, anxieties and wounds. If libido was a great river of pleasure, it met with endless obstacles. If sensitivity yielded to bliss, it was also subject to terror, injury, and rage.

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Medium 9781855750869

81. Mental Disturbance as a Result of Social' Advancement. [1922]

Ferenczi, Sandor Karnac Books ePub

I HAVE a series of observations on neurotics with whom social advancement of the family, at a time when the patients were young children, chiefly in the latency period, proved a most significant ^etiological factor. Three of the cases were men suffering from sexual impotence; another was that of a woman with tic convuhif. Two of the impotent cases happened to be cousins, whose parents became wealthy and’ refined’ —both at the same time, viz. when the children were seven to nine years old. All three impotence cases had gone through an infantile period of’ polymorphous perverse’ sexuality of more than ordinary intensity and variety. There had in fact been nothing in the way of control or conventional restraint during this stage. At the age noted they came to live under refined conditions to which they were entirely unaccustomed, and to a large extent had to exchange a rustic environment for the social conditions of town and city life. They lost by this exchange their former composure and self-confidence; the more so that their previous lack of restraint necessitated a specially vigorous reaction-formation, if they were to conform even partly to the ego-ideal standards of the new and more refined milieu. It is in no way surprising that this wave of repression involved in a very marked degree their sexual aggressiveness and genital capacity.

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Medium 9781782205548

Ninth Session

Couroucli-Robertson, Katerina; Robertson, Ian Karnac Books ePub

The group started with a talk about diets. Christina was very happy because she had finally lost weight. Since she had joined the group she had been putting weight on. From the previous week she had lost four and a half kilos without much effort. She ate yoghurts and fruit. Natalia also mentioned that she had lost eight kilos. She said she was not on a diet as such. She was just careful with what she ate. She needed to lose forty more kilos, so she had a long way to go.

Natalia: “When I want to go to the fridge I remain seated and wait for the desire to leave me. It's not easy, but when I manage it, it is as if I've breathed in pure oxygen. It gives me a boost and I can then carry on.”

Polixeni: “There is a difference between hunger and wanting to eat.”

Therapist to Christina: “Has something happened to make you feel so well?”

Christina: “I've lost weight. I can fit into my clothes. I went to Rhodes for work, but I was also able to go to the beach without feeling ashamed. There was hardly anyone there, so all my worrying was unnecessary. I kept thinking about what you had asked me in the last session. Why was I not feeling well? Then I became aware of my great need to be perfect. It is very difficult for me to accept that I am not perfect. I feel the need to make a good impression on other people.”

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Medium 9781780490243

CHAPTER TWO: Neurobiology

Bacciagaluppi, Marco Karnac Books ePub

Neurobiology is the approach that characterises the most recent advances. It tries to integrate earlier paradigms, such as attachment theory (paradigm 3) and the trauma literature (paradigm 5) with issues of cerebral maturation and integration.

One central source in this chapter is Solomon and Siegel (2003). In addition to the two editors, contributors include attachment researchers (Mary Main, Allan Schore), a trauma specialist (Bessel van der Kolk), and two followers of the brief therapy approach (Diana Fosha and Robert Neborsky). A more recent book, edited by the same group, is The Healing Power of Emotion (Fosha, Siegel, & Solomon, 2009).

Humans retain three types of brain: reptilian, paleomammalian, and neomammalian (MacLean, 1990). The reptilian brain (archipal-lium) includes the spinal cord, the hindbrain (medulla and pons) and the midbrain. It concerns basic life functions such as sleep, respiration, and circulation. The paleomammalian brain (paleopallium) comprises the limbic system (orbitofrontal cortex, anterior cingulate, hippocampus, and amygdala). It concerns survival and reproduction. In particular, it mediates feelings associated with threats to survival, such as fear and anger. The neomammalian brain (neopallium) is also known as the neocortex, and is responsible for the human capacity for language and logical thinking. There is, thus, an evolution of the human brain that, on a different time dimension, parallels the evolution of the human body, studied by paleoanthropologists such as Leakey (1994) and presented in Chaper Three in the section on “The ethological viewpoint”. This view of the triune brain, put forward by MacLean, is being questioned at present. A more recent work in this area is that of LeDoux (1996). His research is focused on fear.

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Medium 9781782204671

15. Dreaming about Patients: Countertransference Dreams

Harris Meltzer Trust ePub

Hila Degani

This paper aims to elaborate on the notion of countertransference dreams as an unconscious narrative that captures primitive unmentalised material in treatment. It is suggested that countertransference dreams have the capacity to continue, at night, the day time-session dialogue between patient and analyst, allowing the analyst to dream that which he or she could not dream during the session. Rather than seeing countertransference dreams as indicative of a problem in analysis, I will argue that they portray the deep emotional involvement an analyst has with the patient as well as the analyst's attempt to continue to digest at night the complex emotional experiences encountered during the session. I will present three countertransference dreams along with descriptions of the antecedents, potential meanings, functions of these dreams and their impact on analysis.

The first dream discussed below is from a study of therapists’ dreams about patients and supervisors I conducted as part of a doctoral thesis (Degani, 2001). The participants in this research were interviewed about their dreams multiple times over a three-month period. There were 50 such dreams collected during the study. The second and third dreams are from my own clinical work.

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Medium 9781855758872

Chapter Four: How to listen to a patient

Bach, Sheldon Karnac Books ePub

When I was in training in the Fifties and early Sixties, we were taught to listen primarily for the unconscious meaning of what the patient was saying. Our ultimate goal was to convert the unconscious or primary process meanings back into conscious or rational thought. It was as if we were translating a foreign language, the language of dreams, back into everyday English. Some of us got to be quite good at this simultaneous translation, but it was never entirely clear whether it was the lifting of repressions that helped the patient, the fact that we were paying such close attention to them, or something else.

Of course this was a distortion of the kind of listening that Freud had sometimes recommended, which was listening without a defined goal, with free floating attention. That is still quite difficult to do, as getting paid to be purposeless requires an uncommon faith in the analytic process. It is still a lot easier for us to assume the role of translator, advisor, benign adversary, older sibling, eager relater, or whatever, especially since that often seems to be exactly what the patient would like us to do.

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Medium 9781780490984

Chapter Twelve: The Complications of the Perpetrator-Victim Relationship for Japanese Children During World War Two: What can Psychoanalysis Contribute toward Conciliation between China and Japan?

Karnac Books ePub


The complications of the perpetrator-victim relationship for Japanese children during World War Two: what can psychoanalysis contribute toward conciliation between China and Japan?

Shigeyuki Mori


China and Japan have suffered from a complicated perpetrator-victim relationship originating in acts perpetrated by the Japanese military during the Fifteen Year War (1931–45). The traumatic outcomes both for diplomatic issues and for individual citizens have not been worked through and still cast a shadow over both countries. Perhaps Japan owes the friendship and the economical cooperation brought into reality recently to Chinese kindness and the realistic judgment that traumatic memories are better avoided in order to establish economical cooperation. The memory of such brutal offences as the Nanking Massacre has not been forgotten and is often reawakened by Japanese politicians' words and behaviours, such as the Japanese prime minister's visit to Yasukuni Shrine. Economic cooperation may be interpreted, at least in part, as a manic defence with repression or dissociation of the traumatic memory. Therefore, it would be worthwhile to look into the China-Japan relationship as a process of repairing the trauma or as the result of that processes absence.

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Medium 9781855756151

CHAPTER FOUR: The division into us them as a universal social structure

Gutmann, David Karnac Books ePub

David Gutmann, with Miriam Berger and Avi Berman


People tend to view their social, political, and in-group affiliations as an articulation of their chosen values, stemming from ideological roots and expressing a carefully thought out and rational worldview. At the same time, they are inclined to shun other groups that espouse contrary values and ideals. This avoidance, too, is perceived as freely chosen and value-based.

As opposed to this common belief, and without underrating the influence of value-based choice and ideological affiliation, we claim that the division into opposing groups, cast as “us” and “them”, constitutes a basic structure of human social organization. It is, in a sense, a projective way given of human nature (that people are disposed to deny). Conceived in this manner, this division predates contents, opinions, and ideologies, and is impulsive and unconscious in character.

It is this division that defines “us” as a source of closeness and sharing and “them” as different, antithetical, negative, and, often, a potential enemy. Ideologies and group history are built on the foundation of this structural division.

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Medium 9781855756076


Karnac Books ePub

W. Gordon Lawrence

‘We are such stuff as dreams are made on; and our little life is rounded with a sleep.’

—Shakespeare, The Tempest, Act IV, Sc. 1, 156–58.

‘I will get Peter Quince to
write a ballad of this dream.
It shall be call’d “Bottom’s
Dream,” because it hath no bottom.’

—Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream,
Act IV, Sc. 1, 220–22.

When I worked at the Tavistock Institute there was no frame of reference with which to incorporate dreams into thinking about action research and consultancy. Nevertheless there were experiences that caused me to start to think. In 1975, for instance, I was interviewing managers as part of an action research study ofmanagement development in companies in Britain. One manager volunteered that he had a repeated dream, which was that he had to come to work each day through a graveyard. No matter which route he took he always had to pass through a cemetery. The associations we had in the interview were that his particular company was going to enter into a financial crisis that could be terminal. He felt depressed because most of his colleagues were denying this probability. It led me, subsequently, to think about the mortality of individual managers and the place of the idealization of careers in the lives of individuals. As important was the fantasy that the business enterprise was immortal in that it would exist forever in the future. This seemed to be a shared fantasy which role holders projected into the business‘in the mind’, irrespective of the current trading and commercial realities. Whatever uncertainties they had of the future were projected into the business, which acted as a‘container’, and they could introject, in turn, certainty.

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Medium 9781855753266

4. Patterns of careseeking/caregiving relationships: research into attachment behaviour in infants and young children

McCluskey, Una Karnac Books ePub

Overall, attachment history does seem to contribute to the prediction of anxiety, anger, and empathy during childhood. Children with resistant attachment histories seem to be more likely than children with other histories to have problems with anxiety, perhaps in response to the constant vigilance they have developed in their early attachment relationships. Children with avoidant or disorganised/disoriented histories are most likely to show hostile, aggressive behaviour, both with parents and with peers, perhaps as a response to chronic rejection and insensitivity from their caregivers. In contrast, children with secure histories seem to have acquired a foundation for empathy from their early relationships; they take to new relationships the ability to be sensitive to another’s emotional cues, as well as a pattern of dyadic affect regulation in which the one who is not distressed helps to regulate the other.

(Weinfield et al ., 1999, p.79)


In the last chapter, we looked at the way in which infants are psychobiologically dependent on their caregiver for basic regulation of their affective states. Research into infant development provided evidence that infants know within moments of birth that they are like other people and can match expressions on others’ faces with their own internal bodily states. Infants, when they are not hungry, tired or ill, enjoy communicating with an attuned adult who vocalises and matches, raises or lowers their level of vitality. Infants expect congruence between behaviour and emotion and are puzzled and distressed when this does not happen. When removed from contact with an adult with whom they have been sharing pleasurable affective experience they withdraw into themselves. When adults relate in unattuned and mis-attuned ways the infant will do what they can to protect themselves, even if all they can do is avoid eye contact. Non attunement to affect between caregivers and infants is extremely distressing to watch as is affect attunement that is followed by unwanted misattunement.

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Medium 9781780490205

CHAPTER TEN: Imre Hermann: researching psyche and space

Karnac Books ePub

Sára Klaniczay

Imre Hermann was my analyst and trainer for seven years. He died twenty years ago, at the age of ninety-five.

Hermann lived in Hungary and he worked there all his life, even in the years of Nazism and Communism.1 He played a very important role in the survival of psychoanalysis in Hungary and in preserving the legacy of the Budapest School for the coming generations. He was a doctor of medicine and also a researcher: he observed and described psychological phenomena and searched for their organic basis.

Hermann was a polymath. Besides being an expert in psychology, he was familiar with different natural and social sciences and various branches of the arts. He was very much interested in what we call “talent”; he studied the nature of the process of creation. The most significant step in his career was the discovery and description of the instinct of clinging.

A short summary of Hermann’s theory of clinging

Hermann was interested in the behaviour of apes from the very beginning. The inherited clinging reaction of apes has been described by many. It is a well-known fact that apes spend the first months of their lives clinging to their mother’s bodies. The essence of Hermann’s theory is that the instinctive behaviour of the ape infant, that is, its clinging to the mother, is an existing but inhibited instinctive drive in the human infant as well. Moro, the German paediatrician, described the reflex movement of the arms that can be triggered in the three-month-old infant. This movement resembles the embracing reflex movement of apes and, thus, might have philogenetic origin.

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Medium 9781855756267

The Dream of the Murders on a Train: Original selfishness of the Plausible Explanation

Barcaro, Umberto Karnac Books ePub

We first consider a dream reported by Freud in the 12th Lecture of his Introduction, entitled “Some analyses of sample dreams” (Freud 1916–1917). The dreamer was a neurotic subject. The manifest dream is the following:

Dream Report: “He was travelling in a railway-train. The train came to a stop in open country. He thought there was going to be an accident and that he must think of getting away. He went through all the coaches in the train and killed everyone he met—the guard, the engine-driver, and so on.” (p. 197)

The indicated memory sources are listed below (we have preferred to number them): of course, the attribution of the various excerpts to separate sources is simply derived by a logical reflection on the contents of the text.

Source 1: “He thought of a story told him by a friend. A lunatic was being conveyed in a compartment on an Italian line, but through carelessness a traveller was allowed in with him. The madman killed the other traveller.” (p. 197)

Freud's comment to this association is:

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Medium 9781782200048

Chapter Eight - “…The Child should Know…”

Molnar, Michael Karnac Books ePub

Examined closely, this photograph reveals a mise en abyme—a miniature picture within the picture, the small image reflecting the larger one. In her right hand, the little blonde girl is holding a blonde doll. Its dangling legs are exactly in line with her own legs. Her grandmother's right hand clasps both the girl's legs and those of the doll. The expression on the face of the doll can just about be made out. It looks uncannily similar to the girl's. Its left hand is raised as if to ward off a blow.

The photograph itself has an ominous atmosphere. Two small figures in an empty park or garden, overhung by dark foliage.

In many ways, this is the antithesis of the previous photograph, the little boy playing in a sunlit garden. For lack of any reliable information, that other photo could only resolve itself into general memories and fantasies of childhood. But the figures here are identifiable and this picture is rooted in a precise time and context. Like the strong lines of perspective formed by the wall and path, it concentrates on those two figures isolated in the foreground, the infant all in white and the old woman in deep mourning. An implicit question is being asked: what gets transmitted from age to youth, from generation to generation? Although only two figures are visible, there are actually three generations represented here. The invisible one, the link between the two sitters, is the photographer herself, the active element in this picture.

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Medium 9781855758216

CHAPTER THREE. Emotion regulation and the role of defences

Neborsky, Robert J.; ten Have-de Labije, Josette Karnac Books ePub

The road to the patient’s unconscious is in the patient and not in the book (not even in this one!), and establishing a conscious and unconscious working alliance is dependent on the therapist’s expertise to assess the nature and degree of the patient variables that function as red and green traffic lights on this road. Thus, we first want to elaborate on such patient variables as how healthy versus unhealthy is the regulation of the patient’s emotions, and what is the function of the patient’s defences in the patient’s particular emotional regulation process? All of our patients who come for help have a certain degree of unhealthy regulation of emotions.

The consequences of failures in a healthy regulation of emotions range from personal distress and unhappiness to socially maladaptive and self-destructive patterns of behaviour. The more our patients are located on the right side of Davanloo’s spectrum of structural neurosis, the more their emotions and anxiety are regulated in an unhealthy way, the more these patients exert self-destructive patterns of behaviour in their interactions with themselves and with important and unimportant others.

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