498 Chapters
Medium 9781855756298

Chapter 9 Concerning the Ubiquity of Projective Identification

Meltzer, Donald Harris Meltzer Trust ePub

When Melanie Klein first described the omnipotent phantasy of projective identification it appeared as an exotic, a rare psychotic phantasy involving external objects and deep alienation of the sense of identity. Forty-five years of research, clinical experience with children and adults and a wide experience of baby observation have not only demonstrated its elementary function with internal objects but have made clear the wide range of phenomena, both useful for relationships and communication or wildly pathological, that come within this broad description of narcissistic identification processes.

Infant observation in particular strongly suggests its essential nature in the preverbal period as the mediator between the baby’s confusional states and the mother’s capacity for reverie and unconscious dream-thought. A view of the developmental process that emphasizes structure of self and objects in the light of splitting processes must necessarily take into consideration the unevenness of development: that those parts of the self which make contact with external figures are most likely to establish enduring relations with internal objects and benefit from the facilitation, through thought, of learning from experience, that is from emotional experiences. But other parts of the personality do not develop this capacity for intimacy, must learn by other routes and are forced thereby relentlessly towards adaptation rather than development. Of these other parts, relatively estranged or absolutely estranged from the heart of the internal family structure, one or another is perhaps left behind at each developmental step (“step” is more appropriate than “point” because the developmental process, as represented in psychoanalysis, certainly makes leaps of comprehension and acceptance — Wittgenstein’s “now I can go on”). Clinical differentiation suggests that parts may be left behind in the womb, producing states of withdrawal quite different in phenomena from those of projective identification. Clearly some are left behind in the claustrum in which they have taken refuge or into which they have penetrated. In the chapter on “Emergence from the Claustrum” the question of entrapment has been investigated: is the portal of entry really closed against exit?

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Medium 9781855756786

II. 1900 The Spiral of Method and Data (Studies on Hysteria)

Meltzer, Donald Harris Meltzer Trust ePub

In the first chapter I suggested that the fate of the creative scientist, as compared with the intuitive crank, is to be ‘wrong’ in all his conclusions. Freud knew this very well and for this reason never hesitated to publish his current ideas nor to abandon them for later approximations. If we try to take the measure of the history of psycho-analysis from the theoretical point of view, we would be in the maelstrom of swirling ideas, models, imagery, from which we would only escape by an arbitrary grasping at what Freud said - in the ‘Introductory Lectures’ for instance but not in the ‘Ego and the Id’ - or, worse still, to establish our own reading of Freud as the correct one: i.e. an orthodoxy.

But science (and art, for that matter) is not carried forward by theories but by advances in method, in technique. Jokingly one may say that the inventor of psycho-analysis was Anna O. with her ‘talking cure’ and ‘chimney sweeping’, and I would think that Freud was sincere when in the igio lectures at Clark University he gave credit for the origin to Breuer.

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Medium 9781855756489

Chapter Seven: The origin of shame and its vicissitudes

Ikonen, Pentti; Rechardt, Eero Harris Meltzer Trust ePub

Recent literature has put forward several new and useful ideas concerning shame. This chapter makes use of these discoveries, while illustrating the importance of shame and shame-related phenomena in everyday life, psychopathology, and the practice of psychotherapy and psychoanalysis.

In our view, shame and shame-related phenomena are Thanatos reactions, whose first manifestations appear in earliest infancy. They thwart a person's unsuccessful attempts to attain reciprocity. As such, they may have a guiding and protective influence or, possibly, an effect on reducing vitality in a permanent way and exposing the person to psychic disorders.

We postulate that the psychoanalytical concept “libido” refers to the need to receive approving reciprocity, which is observable in the very earliest stages of life. Understood like this, the concept of libido comes close to the Japanese concept “amae” (Doi, 1989, 1993).

During recent years, it has been noted that shame is a neglected area in the theory and practice of psychoanalysis. Our clinical experience has drawn our attention to the subject. We have noticed that many psychoanalyses draw considerable profit from the identification of shame and dealing with it.

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Medium 9781782202257

9 - Morals and the Probem of Political Agreement

Money-Kyrle, Roger Harris Meltzer Trust ePub

In Part I of this book we examined the construction of world models. We found there were two to be considered: an inner world of unconscious phantasy, as well as an outer world of common sense. The core of this inner world consists of objects and persons once belonging to the outer world of early childhood as we imagined it, often wrongly, to have been. And we found that the degree of its truth determined our capacity to form a true picture of the outer world – that is, to form a world-model which correctly represents the possibilities of experience.

One result of this enquiry was to lead us to regard the affective and conative aspects of man as, in large measure, dependent on the cognitive. Of course, our innate attitude to the world influences our beliefs about it, so that some people – those, for example, with a constitutional high ‘envy content’ – may have more difficulty in achieving a true world picture than others. But those with similar beliefs – that is, with similar world-models – tend to have similar feelings and desires; from which it follows that a number of omniscient people, all having beliefs which were both comprehensive and true, and therefore identical, would be likely to make similar but not identical evaluations.

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Medium 9781782201175

4 - The Therapist at Work: Technical Matters

Harris Meltzer Trust ePub

Marina Capello

Human beings build too many walls and not enough bridges.

(Isaac Newton)

In the previous chapters we highlighted the theoretical elements that are specific to couple therapy. The change in point of view, compared to individual psychoanalysis, influences the technique which needs to change in line with it. In this chapter we will explore this extension. Whilst in individual therapy only one person can talk about the absent partner, as an internal object, in the couple setting the therapist has to concern himself with both actual partners, and to distinguish the real object from the represented (internalised) object. It is not easy to see the boundary between the two realities, as one may be faced with a very strong projective identification, in which an aspect of the self – either idealised or negated – is handed over very forcefully to the other, who finds himself becoming like the picture that the partner has of him. The realistic aspect of the partner is confused by the projections that enter into him or her.

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