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Medium 9781855754584

4: Brief mother-father-infant psychodynamic psychotherapy: clinical and technical aspects

Karnac Books ePub

Francisco Palacio-Espasa and Dora Knauer

Brief parent-infant psychotherapy is a short-term psycho-therapeutic intervention method (Cramer 1974) targeting parents with their child. It has been employed in Geneva according to the technical principles described by Fraiberg (1980). This type of psychotherapeutic intervention was principally created for babies presenting functional symptoms (sleep or food disorders) or behavioral disorders (opposition, aggressiveness, hyperactivity, etc.). At the Infant Psychiatric Clinic, Geneva, the initial research on these psychotherapeutic processes was carried out by a psycho-analytically oriented psychotherapist. Mother-infant dyads were studied during three to ten weekly sessions. The therapist attempted to focus on the elements troubling the mother-infant interactions that were responsible for the appearance of the infant’s symptoms. This interactive network was interpreted in relation to the mother’s infantile experiences with her own parents and family. This therapeutic approach yielded quite positive results, not only at the level of the infant’s symptoms, but also at the level of the mother-child interactions (Cramer et al. 1990; Robert-Tissot et al. 1996).

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Medium 9781855755758

CHAPTER FOUR: What is theory?

Bollas, Christopher Karnac Books ePub

I

When Freud wrote himself into a corner he would engage a literary trope. It would go something like “if you believe what I have been arguing up till now you will have been following the wrong line of thought.” Then off he would go on his merry way leaving many a reader flummoxed over why so much time had been spent thinking incorrect ideas. Freud's writing simply demonstrated his view that we think free associatively Typically he followed not just one line of thought but scores of “chains of ideas”—a term he often used, like “trains of thought”. When these lines of thought were in outright contradiction with one another, Freud would engage the above trope or claim he was stuck and defer the issue until later.

I find a particular moment in The Ego and the Id (1923b) touching. Writing about the repressed unconscious, Freud is about to finish up Chapter One when a thought pops into his mind. Not only are the repressed contents unconscious but so, too, is the agency that commits them to the unconscious. He pauses. He states that it would seem that he has several different theories of the unconscious. For a moment he turns to God to see if the issue can be resolved: “A part of the ego too—and Heaven knows how important a part—may be Ucs., undoubtedly is Ucs” (ibid., p. 9). Freud lapses into a very brief literary depression, implicitly wondering if he should scrap his entire theory of the unconscious—”we must admit that the characteristics of being unconscious begins to lose significance” (ibid.) —but finishes the chapter with a nod to the future and the hope that somehow this problem can be resolved.

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Medium 9781855756410

36. Ming I / Darkening of the Light (‘Wounding of the Bright’)

Jones, Peggy Karnac Books ePub

above Kun / The Receptive, Earth

below Li / The Clinging, Fire

above Chên / The Arousing, Thunder

below Kan / The Abysmal, Water

The hexagram pictures light or fire beneath and within the earth, and this image is powerfully reflected in the title. The entire hexagram refers to the historical period in which King Wên (who wrote the judgements on the hexagrams) was imprisoned and his life in danger. Under these circumstances it was imperative that he should behave inconspicuously while doing all he could to endure and keep his spirit from failing. There is no harm in comparing our own struggles with those of King Wên; we can learn much about surviving adversity from his story.

Throughout life there may be times and circumstances in which it is advisable to hide our light, times in which we have not actively sought to be involved but have, none the less, been caught up. These events may be the result of greed, malice, or envy on the part of others. There are times when, no matter how well-behaved we are, there are still those who wish us harm or who just do not like us. However, we need to be aware that, without intending to do so, it is possible to contribute to the setting up of situations in which we shine too brightly and thus attract to ourselves these dangerous responses. This is, perhaps, why the Chinese always reserve their highest praise for the person who behaves modestly. Our behaviour at such times requires patience, forbearance, and trust in the ever-changing patterns of life and its energies. It is wise not to make our perseverance or endurance too obvious, however, or this, too, may attract anger and act as a provocation to further injury. This is not a counsel for masochistic submission to the situation, but rather for acceptance of it as it is, and for a quiet determination that we will outlast the period of adversity while safeguarding our sense of self.

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Medium 9781782204893

Chapter Five: Nietzsche, Lacan, Madness

Russell, Jared Karnac Books ePub

Parmenides said, “one cannot think of what is not”;—we are at the other extreme, and say “what can be thought of must certainly be a fiction.”

—Nietzsche, The Will to Power

On January 3rd, 1889, in the city of Turin, Nietzsche witnessed a man cruelly beating a horse. The man's living wage as a carriage-driver depended upon the well-being of the horse he was beating, and which he was able to claim legally as his own. The irrational cruelty exhibited was thus the expression of a purely suicidal intention articulating itself as if it were an enhancement of subjective agency—the very opposite of what Nietzsche had meant by “power.” Nietzsche intervened, embraced the animal, and collapsed. Overcome by commercial culture—a then emergent cultural form that authorizes interpretations of life in terms of ownership, petty cruelty, and suicide—Nietzsche spent the next few days losing his mind. That he suffered from this process is not necessarily indicated by the historical accounts of this brief period in his life. His landlady is alleged to have peeped through his window one night and witnessed the famous author dancing and singing in the nude. She concluded that he must have been drunk on wine. Whether or not this was the case, it suggests that he was not suffering, but ecstatically enjoying himself. Nietzsche would spend the remaining eleven years of his life in a state of catatonic psychosis, paying the price for this transitory encounter with absolute enjoyment.

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Medium 9781855756809

CHAPTER EIGHT: The pugilist, Mary, and the mother with the fiery halo

Steinman, Ira Karnac Books ePub

When I first saw Daphne nearly thirty years ago, she was a brown haired woman in her mid-fifties. She was in the hospital for perhaps the thirty-fifth time in her life. Her psychiatrist of twenty years was retiring and transferring her to my care. She was alternately withdrawn or bellicose, and had been thrown out of several hospitals for her boxing skills, as she would physically attack other patients or staff.

She was an attractive married woman, a mother of two, who had made a number of suicide attempts over the previous thirty years. At one point she had jumped from the Golden Gate Bridge but had (seemingly miraculously) fallen on the catwalk below, broken many bones, and spent a number of months in the hospital recovering physically, if not psychologically. She had worked at several jobs, but had always lost them due to actions viewed as bizarre and idiosyncratic, for example writing strange notes in the margins of memos and verbally attacking her superiors.

Her history, as given by Daphne, her husband, and the referring psychiatrist, revealed periods of pressured, manic-seeming behaviour, accompanied by or alternating with profound and severe depression.She was diagnostically considered to be schizoaffective or somewhere on the bipolar spectrum of manic-depressive disorder, but couldn't be contained by the antipsychotic, antidepressant and mood stabilising medicines then available, including lithium. There was also the question of a schizophrenic quality, because she seemed so disturbed and strange at times, hallucinating and talking to herself.

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