11923 Chapters
Medium 9781855756724

Chapter Three: Psychoanalytic theories of personality, adolescence, and the problem of identity in late modernity

Bohleber, Werner Karnac Books ePub

Social developments have accelerated at such a rapid pace since the 1980s that many cultural theorists have discerned a break in the general course of modernity, so that a new designation is required for our present age. Philosophy and the social sciences continue to struggle to understand and categorize the present. The erosion of social structures through rapid economic and technical developments has led to the dissolution of former identity-guiding social roles and schemata, entities that had previously helped the individual to construct a somewhat coherent identity. Today, lifestyles have become increasingly atomized, as freedom of choice and the right to individuality and self-realization emerge as guiding principles. In Civilization and its Discontents (1930a), Freud described how the civilized man of modernity had obtained a greater degree of security by learning to accept limitations to his freedom and to relinquish a good portion of his possibilities for happiness. In contrast, Bauman (1997) takes the view that the “Discontent in postmodernity” arises from individual freedom itself, noting that our values have changed to the point that security, or the desire for security, is regarded primarily as an obstacle in the search for happiness and pleasure. Today, the position once occupied by reassuring identity formations is increasingly assumed by more open, experimental, and sometimes fragmentary self-designs. Indeed, social science researchers have claimed that a new social personality type has emerged: the “protean being,” the “modular man,” a figure characterized by “drifting” (I am referring here to Bauman, 1997; Giddens, 1999; Rosa, 2005; Sennett, 1998). Ties to places and to other people have started to come undone, as have the long-term commitments they entailed. Despite the scepticism with which a psychoanalyst might regard such descriptions of the modern self, these claims are not without a certain cogency. Psychoanalysis's own image of man has undergone various shifts in emphasis over the past forty years, for instance, from the focus on the autonomy of the ego to object-relations theory and self psychology. The field has also taken a narrative–constructivist turn, and today is experiencing a shift toward the relational and inter-subjective. These changes were and are not only the result of clinical and theoretical developments within psychoanalysis, but have also come in response to the evolving position of the individual in late modern society. In the following, I will outline the changes that have been undergone by psychoanalytic concepts, especially in regard to personality development, and I will focus my attention on the evolving understanding of adolescence and identity formation.

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Medium 9781855756571

Right brain implicit processes and clinical intuition

Karnac Books ePub

In my introduction I proposed that the therapist’s moment-to-moment navigation through these heightened affective moments occurs by not explicit verbal secondary process cognition, but rather by implicit non-verbal primary process clinical intuition. From a social neuro-science perspective, intuition is now being defined as “the subjective experience associated with the use of knowledge gained through implicit learning” (Lieberman 2000: 109). The description of intuition as “direct knowing that seeps into conscious awareness without the conscious mediation of logic or rational process” (Boucouvalas 1997: 7), clearly implies a right and not left brain function. Bugental (1987) refers to the therapist’s “intuitive sensing of what is happening in the patient back of his [sic] words and, often, back of his conscious awareness” (p. 11). In his last work Bowlby (1991) speculated, “Clearly the best therapy is done by the therapist who is naturally intuitive and also guided by the appropriate theory” (p. 16).

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Medium 9781855758278

CHAPTER SIX: Why does the revenge spiral continue? Among victims and perpetrators

Bohm, Tomas; Kaplan, Suzanne Karnac Books ePub

I n the previous chapters, we have seen how revenge fantasies and revenge acts can be explained on the basis of real or perceived violations and our difficulties in handling our strong feelings. We have also seen how our human inclination to adapt ourselves to the group can make otherwise empathetic and well-functioning people commit destructive acts. Added to that, if we happen to live in a totalitarian and violent society or in a society at war, we are even more susceptible to primitive drives, such as revenge mechanisms. Now we swing back to the individual again in order to discuss shame and persecutory guilt as driving forces in the revenge phenomenon.

Though we might have a great awareness of atrocities in the present and the past, it is perhaps still hard for us to imagine being forced to endure savage cruelties, as in genocide, or even harder to believe that we would be capable of violent acts. Can any person whosoever become a part of a destructive revenge spiral? How does a perpe trator function, and how does he or she legitimize his or her violence? What is it that makes it so difficult to stop an escalating violence?

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Medium 9781855750388


Freud, Anna Karnac Books ePub

It is comparatively easy to discover the defense mechanisms to which the ego habitually resorts, so long as each is employed separately and only in conflict with some specific danger. When we find denial, we know that it is a reaction to external danger; when repression takes place, the ego is struggling with instinctual stimuli. The strong outward resemblance between inhibition and ego restriction makes it less certain whether these processes are part of an external or an internal conflict. The matter is still more intricate when defensive measures are combined or when the same mechanism is employed sometimes against an internal and ‘ sometimes against an external force. We have an excellent illustration of both these complications in the process of identification. Since it is one of the factors in the development of the superego, it contributes to the mastery of instinct. But, as I hope to show in what follows, there are occasions when it combines with other mechanisms to form one of the ego’s most potent weapons in its dealings with external objects which arouse its anxiety.

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Medium 9781855754911

CHAPTER EIGHT: Towards Regulation?

Hooper, Douglas; Weitz, Philippa Karnac Books ePub

Tim O’Brien

THE first point to establish is that I am not a counsellor and do not work for a counselling organisation; ENTO is a UK-wide independent standards setting body with responsibility for the national occupational standards for counselling, along with a range of other national standards including coaching, mentoring and mediation.

The development of national occupational standards in the UK began with the 1986 White Paper Working Together – Education and Training, which proposed that the skills level of the workforce had to increase to ensure effective competitiveness in world markets. The chosen route to achieve this ambition was to develop minimum standards of competence for all occupational sectors and recognise the attainment of the competence through certificated nationally accredited vocational qualifications. The methodology used to determine the national occupational standards was a home grown UK one, which not only involved the assessment of competent performance, but also demanded that the learner had the specific and contextual direct and background knowledge required to be regarded as truly ‘competent’ and not just an automaton.

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