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CHAPTER SEVEN: Transformation of language and social transformation

David Gutmann Karnac Books ePub

David Gutmann, with Laurence Ponthieu and Christophe Verrier

“We identify metals from the sounds, and persons from the words”

(Baltasar Gracian, Maxime CCXCI, Oraculo manualy
arte de prudencia
, or The Court Gentleman, 1684) “

The ego is not the master in its own house”

(Freud, 1923b)

E ach word that is used or pronounced carries a part of the unconscious with it. Lacan teaches us that unconscious is structured as a language and that words are the privileged way of expressing, or revealing, our own unconscious. We propose a hypothesis that is both opposite and complementary: words are not only one of the doors open to our unconscious; words have their own unconscious. Each one carries its own piece of uncon scious that testifies its trajectory of its history, of our personal and familial history, but mainly collective, through centuries. Thus, language is also structured as unconscious. How then to better understand what words mean?

Jacques Lacan insisted on the difference between container and contained. As signs, words have two faces, the signifying and the signifier. Through both, words express a hidden content coming from their own singular trajectory. Each word has a history, both conscious and unconscious. But words create history, too. To use a specific word has never been neutral; to confuse two words-for instance power and authority-has significant practical conse-quences. This hypothesis is, of course, very fruitful for the work of a consultant because it suggests that to understand words is a primary resource to understand the life of people and institutions. This is why transformation of language and social transformation seem to be closely linked. We will try to present some examples here.

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CHAPTER SEVEN: Observing patients' use of the psychoanalytic setting to communicate an experience of absence: the work of progressive triangulation

James Rose Karnac Books ePub

James Rose

If the analysis described above is correct, then it would seem that what has been observed is a process by which a patient’s subjective experience of being decathected is communicated to the psychoanalyst by means of the patient’s use of the psychoanalytic setting. This has been initially a quite unconscious use, as revealed by the change following interpretation. Moreover, the emergence of transitional phenomena in the form of virtual objects enable us to make some interesting links between a patient’s subjective experience (or their psychic reality) and their behaviour in external reality, or enactments, which can readily be observed by the treating psychoanalyst. Such links are made possible by the functioning of the psychoanalytic setting and I shall propose that the essential component of the setting making this possible is the temporal dimension. Green’s (1986) description of the child who experiences chronic decathexis by a preoccupied mother helps us to imagine a particular kind of experience that we might describe as “being a nothing”. Thus, the mother “cares for the child but her heart is not in it”. The experience of being chronically decathected we can imagine therefore as being one in which we do not feel we matter to someone centrally important to us.

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CHAPTER TEN: An “internal supervisor”

Gillian Preston Karnac Books ePub

Elizabeth Wilde McCormick

Nina was my clinical supervisor for my private psychotherapy practice from 1989 until 1994. I owe her much. She lives on as an “internal supervisor”, and I often hear her voice saying things such as, “Are you really sure about that my dear?”, or “What an extraordinary story!” I also draw on her as a strong role model, for a lot of my therapeutic work today is supervision of experienced practitioners from different orientations.

I wrote to her initially to ask if she would take me on because I had heard of her work and I wanted to understand something of the Freudian approach to psychotherapy, which had been missing from my training. My background was in social psychiatry, humanistic and transpersonal psychology, and cognitive analytic therapy. At our first meeting, she asked me to explain what it was I wanted from her. I must have done this adequately, because she beamed and her eyes sparkled as she said, “Yes, dear, no one really understands sex and power as well as Freud!”

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Chapter Twenty

Bruce Fink Karnac Books ePub

Arriving at the infamous restaurant which, as Canal knew from the papers, was not much longer for this world than Doreen herself had been, the postiche professor was led by the maître d'hôtel to a table commanding a fine view of the park. George Peterson was sitting there with a young boy of ten or eleven who was presented to Kappferrant as Peterson's nephew Jason.

“Jason will not be joining us for lunch, appearances to the contrary notwishstanding,” Peterson began pompously, without standing, even as he slurred his words slightly, “only for dessert. Off you go,” he said to the boy, flicking the fingers of one hand toward him as if to chase him away like a fly.

“My sister's son,” he uttered, as if by way of explanation. “Damn nuishance! Her youngest had to go in for a medical procedure, so I got stuck with the eldest—as if he couldn't read a book in the waiting room like everyone else.”

The inspector noted to himself that Peterson seemed to have gotten a considerable head start on the liquid portion of the meal and was already fairly éméché. He wondered what kind of existential pain the analyst must be grappling with to have already downed, by twelve-thirty on a Saturday morning, what appeared to have been three martinis, if one could judge from the empty glasses strewn across the table and the supposition that he had not shared them with his uncherished nephew.

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CHAPTER NINE The future of prejudice and the limits of psychoanalytic intervention

Karnac Books PDF

LEVITT Book_Levitt correx 22/09/2014 12:06 Page 169


The future of prejudice and the limits of psychoanalytic intervention1

Cyril Levitt

rom its beginning, psychoanalysis was forced to confront both popular and academic prejudice, not only on account of its supposedly prurient and lurid subject matter,2 but also on account of the Jewish background of almost all its early adherents, practitioners, and many of their patients. The large psychoanalytic literature on the topic of prejudice and related matters (including racism, anti-Semitism, discrimination, ethnic and racial violence, genocide, and ethnic cleansing) provides analysts with an armamentarium in confronting prejudice in their clinical work, and in their understanding of its psychodynamic causes and development. Yet, in spite of this rich and burgeoning literature on prejudice and related issues, there have been relatively few attempts by analysts and psychoanalytic institutions to educate non-analytically orientated professionals who come up against issues of prejudice in their daily work. I include among these groups of professionals teachers and educators, social workers, jurists and legislators, mediators and arbitrators, police and military (in democratic countries), as the most prominent.3

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