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7. The psychoanalytic observer at the nursery

Mariza Leite da Costa Harris Meltzer Trust ePub

Ana Rosa Campana de Almeida Pernambuco and Maria da Graça Palmigiani

This paper is an account of a study conducted at a child day-care centre between September and December 1989. Following the Baby and Child Observation Course at the Mother-Baby Study Centre, together with our professional experience in dealing with people, made us realize that the first few years of a child’s life are central to the development of its personality. We also know that appropriate care can assist the development of the resources needed for coping with life, and we felt that there was insufficient professional training available in Brazil regarding the emotional aspects of child development in its various stages.

Over the course of this study we noticed that information on its own does not modify the adult-child relationship. It is more important to be receptive and reflective than to simply counsel and inform. In other words, an attitude that reflects what is being communicated – that is self-reflexive rather than demonstrative – is needed. This enables the adult to think about what is happening at any given moment and to find solutions that can help the child’s development.

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1 - The Nature of the Evidence

Roger Money-Kyrle Harris Meltzer Trust ePub

Before trying to give an outline of psychoanalytic theory, something should be said about the evidence on which it is based – especially as this is so often questioned. Moreover, according to some methodologists, we must be able to do more than quote positive evidence in its support. There are pseudo-sciences, such as astrology, which are so elastic, which admit the introduction of so many additional hypotheses to explain away unwelcome facts, that they effectively resist disproof. So an essential criterion of a genuine, as opposed to a pseudoscience, is that the kind of negative evidence which would prove it false must be capable of being clearly stated.2

It has been argued that analysis fails to pass this test, because its practitioners have several loopholes of escape from the possibility of being pinned down and proved wrong. A patient’s denial of an interpretation can, for example, be taken merely as evidence of a ‘resistance’; his assertion that the opposite of what is said of him is true can be explained away in terms of ‘ambivalence’ and the co-existence of contradictory conscious and unconscious impulses; and even when the analyst himself comes to believe that he should have made a different interpretation, he need not withdraw the first one, since, owing to ‘overdetermination’, it may still be right at some other level. To meet this kind of criticism, we must be able to show that our interpretations, and the theory built on them, are capable of being proved wrong.

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Medium 9781782201182

CHAPTER TWO Art and the inner world

Adrian Stokes Harris Meltzer Trust PDF


Art and the inner world

Painting and the inner world i


t seems desirable that I give a precise account of what I mean by the inner world, the one of Freud and Melanie

Klein. Apart from the fact that I claim no precise picture, there is always the difficulty that the concepts of psychoanalysis are little known and far less understood, yet it is impossible to interpolate several treatises available elsewhere.

The aspect of the psyche that most concerns our context is the potential chaos and the attempts to achieve stability whether predominantly through defences of splitting such as getting rid of parts of the psyche on to other people, or through denial, omnipotence, idealization, or whether predominantly by the less excluding method, the prerogative of the truly adult being, that entails recognition of great diversity in the psyche under the aegis of trust in a good object. The word “object” may seem obscure but it is used with determination. By means of introjection, the i From Painting and the Inner World, 1963, pp. 5-9; Critical Writings III, pp. 210-213.


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10: Becoming Fortinbras

Meg Harris Williams Harris Meltzer Trust ePub

Hamlet: I lov'd Ophelia. Forty thousand brothers
Could not with all their quantity of love
Make up my sum…
Woo'd weep, woo't fight, woo't fast, woo't tear thyself,
Woo't drink up eisel, eat a crocodile?
I'll do it. Dost come here to whine,
To outface me with leaping in her grave? (V. i. 264-73)

Horacio is bitterly disappointed by Hamlet on his return eight years later, after having followed the Forte road to intellectual yuppydom, and begins to understand his own mismanagement of the analysis.

My further acquaintance with the Danes and Polacks left me with mixed feelings. I was more conscious than ever of the seductiveness of his home environment, this nest of sensitive and cultured opportunity in which no expense was spared. Polack too, in his way, was an agent or offshoot from this. But I remembered Hamlet saying nobody wanted “a feller with a social disease”. I was now in a position to understand better the social aspects of the disease by which both their houses were plagued – the confusion over status and privilege, the loss of identity, fear of being overwhelmed by a new dark age of cynicism and greed, and guilt at personal failings or past mistakes which may have helped to induce it. This was, to some extent, the spirit of the age, pressing on all of us. The time was out of joint. But I was disillusioned by the degree to which Claude and Gertrude had fallen prey to it, and I regretted not having given due weight to Hamlet's own adolescent struggle, his fight against it. This was the fault of my own blindness, my idealization of his princely origins.

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VII. Seventh Week—Sessions 34-39 Concepts of Confusion—Their Absence in the Work with Richard and its Consequence

Donald Meltzer Harris Meltzer Trust ePub

An interesting week, but again it is a week that is interfered with because, on the Tuesday, Mrs Klein tells Richard that her trip to London is to start at the end of the week. He does not really react to this information until Thursday, and then on Friday and Saturday it strikes him terribly. So it is another one of those weeks in which the setting has been interfered with - the mother’s illness, Mrs Klein going away, the playroom being locked so that she has to take him to her lodgings. There is hardly a week that has not been interfered with in some way, but it is very instructive to see how the interferences and the analytic process somehow mingle with one another.

By this time in the analysis almost all Richard’s insincerity has dropped away, at least temporarily, and this is a week in which there is very little resistance to the analytical work. His participation has become somehow less formalized; although he plays with the fleet and draws a few empire drawings, the really important things that happen just erupt - suddenly he digs in Mrs Klein’s bag; he rushes out of the room into the kitchen and squirts the water; emotionality pours from him, looking up at her eyes, saying how he loves her. This analysis is going at full pace, and Richard is passionately involved in it, already feeling that it has benefited him. He tells her so, and his mother confirms this, that some of his fear of school children has diminished. He is beginning to be able to think of himself as possibly grown up someday.

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