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Medium 9781855757189

Chapter Seven: Phobic attachments: internal impediments to change

Jean Arundale Karnac Books ePub

Michael Halton

This chapter is concerned with a group of patients who suffer from entrenched narcissistic and phobic defences. Because of this, they find establishing deep emotional contact with other people to be very problematic. It would be misleading to say they are suffering from a narcissistic personality structure, as the term is usually understood, with its connotations of omnipotent self-sufficiency and self-regard. These patients are well aware of an emotional need for other people, and consciously they desire and seek out closeness. However, when they move towards their object or their object makes too close a move towards them, they become anxious and are often overwhelmed with phobic panic and fears. The nature of these fears is often mysterious and confusing to themselves, and they find it difficult to make sense of their own reactions, which seem to be at such odds with the closeness and intimacy they most consciously desire. At best, these patients feel uneasy and awkward when confined in emotional closeness to another person, and at worst, this can deteriorate into a full-blown state of claustrophobic entrapment, accompanied by experiences of a loss of self and depersonalization. They often seek help because these difficulties have led to a marked impoverishment in their social and emotional lives, whether they are consciously aware of this or not. It is important to stress that while some of these patients may be on the borderline end of the spectrum in terms of mental functioning, others may be operating with a considerably more mature level of psychic organization and do not, at first acquaintance, present as especially ill. However, they are all generally unhappy and discontented with their lot and find the ordinary ups and downs of life an ordeal.

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Medium 9781855752801

9. "But how can I help if I don't know?" Supervising work with refugee families Comments

David Campbell Karnac Books ePub

Renos K. Papadopoulos

In supervising work with refugees, I am frequently asked by therapists and ofher workers how they can be helpful if they do not “know” much about their refugee clients. This, of course, is a legitimate concern. Therapists should always know enough about the people they work with. However, it seems to me that this question, in this particular context, has wider ramifications: it raises a host of issues connected with the type and amount of “knowledge” that therapists and, in general, refugee workers think they must have in order to feel confident in working with their refugee clients. Moreover, it is also important to ponder on how the choice of the type and amount of this “knowledge” is made.

Refugees and systems

People have always moved from one territory to another when they felt threatened, but the phenomenon of refugeedom is a relatively recent one, arising from when ethnic groups, nations, and states developed their own discrete boundaries (Black & Koser, 1999; Carlier & Vanheule, 1997; Hampton, 1998; Joly, 1996; Kushner & Knox, 1999; Loescher, 1993). Refugees tend to evoke strong reactions, both positive and negative. People in the receiving country sway between two opposite sets of feelings towards them: compassion for having lost their homes, and fear that the refugees’ presence may adversely affect their own lives. For example, when Bosnian refugees came to the U.K. in the early to mid-1990s, they were welcomed most warmly but also, in some places, met with hostility because they were seen as being given priority over the local population in terms of resources such as health and housing. Thus, allowing refugees to enter a country does not only represent a humanitarian act but also involves a great many other considerations.

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Medium 9781855758070

Discussion of Juan Pablo Jiménez's paper, “A psychoanalytic phenomenology of perversion”

Juan Pablo Jimenez Karnac Books ePub

Rainer Krause

Juan Pablo Jiménez's work is an ambitious attempt that begins with the premise that the peculiar clinical disease, perversion, and its manifestation in the mind of the analyst, is directly related to itself on the one hand, fundamental epistemological questions concerning psychoanalysis in its theoretical dimension, and, on the other, a clinical phenomenology that provides its exact scope to the particular case. He then transports the intersubjective phenomena to the known metapsychological theories of perversion, with the aim of testing its usefulness, by means of two criteria: first, if the theories depict the intersubjective phenomenon and, second, if they have an explanatory value founded ethiologically that help us to grasp their origin and persistence.

Interactive access implies the origin of inferences and emotions and, with that, transferential–contratransferential processes that come up in the analyst's mind in the formation of concepts. With this paper, Juan Pablo hopes first to be able to clear up “linguistic and conceptual confusion” that he considered make up psycho-analysis's current epistemological situation. It is his proposal of how to move against the “babelization” that predominates today.

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Chapter Five: A five-bar gate: love and hate in the structure of the mind

Jean Arundale Karnac Books ePub

Jan Harvie-Clark

“I hate and I love. Why do I do it, perchance you might ask? I don't know, but I feel it happening to me and I'm burning up.”

(Catullus, ca. 50bc)

“Without contraries is no progression. Attraction and Repulsion, Reason and Energy, love and hate, are necessary to human Existence.”

(Blake, ca. 1790–1793)

At the end of a long break, two patients returned for their first session. The first, whom I shall refer to as Ms C, a young woman in her twenties, has been in analysis with me for almost a year. This is her first long break.

Starting analysis has had a very considerable impact on her, or, rather, on her body. Now she arrives on the dot of her appointed hour. On greeting me she looks at me with suspicion. I immediately feel vaguely uncomfortable. She indicates that she wants to sit in the chair, and she stares at me. She asks if I have had a good holiday. Then, with politeness over, she tells me she has been terrible. I ask her to tell me about it. For the next half an hour she tells me of her terrifying somatic symptoms. These reached a crescendo two days ago, when she felt that there was a tightening band around her chest. She is sure that I cannot appreciate how awful she feels; no one can understand, no one else can feel like she does, otherwise people would not walk around and get on with their lives in the way that they do.

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Medium 9781782203964

Chapter Nine - Interlude: Processes of Sight and Perception

Nicole Schnackenberg Karnac Books ePub

“We must not, therefore, wonder whether we really perceive a world, we must instead say: the world is what we perceive”

(Merleau-Ponty, 1962, p. 18)

Some of us may have had the following experience: we look into the mirror at a given time of the day and feel dissatisfied with what we see. Our thighs look too big perhaps, our arms are not muscular enough, or maybe the skin looks more blemished than we hoped it would be. Then, at a later point in the same day, we look into the same mirror and see a very different image. Our thighs look smaller, our arms more defined, our skin clearer. How is it that we are seeing one image at one moment and a different image the next? Seeing and perception are not passive processes but active ones in which we participate in the result. The human eye takes in ten million bits of information per second but only deals consciously with forty. The human visual system then divides the continuous pattern of light projected onto the retina into a discrete set of separate objects. We never experience reality as it actually is, since our brains would simply be overwhelmed by the vastness of the data. If we were to process every intricate piece of information in our environment, we would not have time to forage for food or escape danger. In short, we would not survive. Our ability to filter information is proposed to be an evolutionary mechanism: we would appear to rely on models rather than reality itself. Our emotions, according to neuroscientist Candace Pert (1997), decide what is worth paying attention to.

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