29 Chapters
Medium 9781855757813

CHAPTER FOUR: Adolescence as a dynamic field

Karnac Books ePub

Luis Kancyper

“In brief, it is exciting that adolescence has become vocal and active, but the adolescent striving that makes itself felt over the whole world today needs to be met, needs to be given reality by an act of confrontation.

Confrontation must be personal.

Adults are needed if adolescents are to have life and liveliness. Confrontation belongs to containment that is non-retaliatory, without vindictiveness, but having its own strength.

[…] Let the young alter society and teach grown-ups how to see the world afresh; but, where there is challenge of the growing boy or girl, there let an adult meet the challenge. And it will not necessarily be nice. In the unconscious fantasy these are matters of life and death”.

D.W. Winnicott (1972); G. Rosolato (1981)

The confrontation between generations is an essential process for the acquisition of identity.

Its main condition is the presence of neither a soft nor arbitrary other who allows the tension of difference between opposites, while both parts admit that being an opponent is not equivalent to being an enemy.

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Medium 9781782205425

Chapter Ten: Meetings

Ferro, Antonino; Nicoli,Luca Karnac Books ePub



Since you mentioned him and he passed away not long ago, I'd like to ask you to tell us something about James Grotstein.

When I think about Jim Grotstein, I can't help but instinctively smile, because he was a kind person, an extremely generous person, a person who did not realise just how brilliant he was and how many turning points he allowed psychoanalysis to reach, so I'd like to commemorate his generosity, the utter absence of both assertiveness and of that pride that sometimes can, in particular minds, even come with disdain towards those who are less brilliant. Also, his boundless affection and sweetness. Then I'd like to recall two things: the first is the applause that greeted him after the wonderful speech he had given at the conference on Bion in Boston and the standing ovation that was accorded him with true affection (Grotstein, 2009). Grotstein had a great capacity to give, to share, to be untroubled by those who would appropriate one of his ideas and claim it as their own; he had no sense of possession, of owning ideas, regarding which he thought the more one shares them, the more they grow: no property rights. And then I remember how we went to eat at the restaurant together, and how he had walked a long stretch of one of Boston's main streets without noticing that he still had a napkin in front of his trousers, sort of like an apron, and how he walked completely unaware of his apron, until, after more than an hour, we noticed the napkin with which he was going around. Then he took it off and placed it on his shoulder, and kept walking like nothing happened. So, about him I would like to remember his utter lack of a “I am Grotstein”: “I am nobody!”

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Medium 9781782205425

Chapter Two: The Rules of the Game

Ferro, Antonino; Nicoli,Luca Karnac Books ePub


The rules of the game

While we are on the subject of games, the first thing you do when you begin playing is to establish some rules, without which the game is something else. So we start by fixing the rules that constitute our setting. The British once did five sessions a week. In Europe one generally travelled “by car”, on four wheels. In France they have the tricycle…

…or the sidecar.

Or the sidecar. New analysts and many therapists have, when things go well, a motor scooter, when things go badly a push scooter. On this subject, some say that anything less than three sessions per week is not analysis, because the method of free association loses its meaning in a low frequency relationship. Moreover you mentioned among the analyst's tools the deconstruction of actual speech; to what extent does doing this kind of transformation remain viable in a low frequency analysis—that we might even call psychoanalytic psychotherapy? These are situations in which external reality is knocking very loudly on the door.

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Medium 9781782205425

Chapter Six: Travelling Light

Ferro, Antonino; Nicoli,Luca Karnac Books ePub


Travelling light

So, since we have to travel a long way, and most importantly with a light luggage, let's at least try to choose it carefully. In our articles there are a few successful concepts that, by dint of being used a lot, end up being used all the time. Sometimes they become master keys that can open any door. The concept of reverie, so poetic and evocative, lends itself to this fate. “And then I had a reverie!”, as if it was an epiphany. What is it exactly?

I would start from what Grotstein says when he explains that the concept comes from Bion, but then spread like wildfire across all conceptualisations of psychoanalysis, so it is one of those umbrella concepts that after a while could mean everything and its opposite, sort of like the term “projective identification”, so we can't understand each other. I would favour an extremely restrictive use of the concept. Let's first try to describe it clinically, then let's see its theoretical origin. Clinically I think it is when in the mind of an analyst, in the consulting room—we're retreading what we said about the analyst only existing when he also has a patient in a setting—an image presents itself insistently and annoyingly. These are the two important features: insistent and grating. It is something that at first disturbs the analyst: he wonders why it crosses his mind, he tries to get rid of it because it's annoying, because it interferes with that state of mind in which one is ready to listen, with a receptive state, it is something that really imposes itself on the analyst. And this image that imposes itself is usually something that has to do with the analytic situation in which one finds himself. Let's take a very simple example, which I have already discussed elsewhere: while I was with a patient, at some point the image of a sailing ship, one of those miniature ones inside a bottle, started coming to my mind—or to impose itself, I would say. I tried driving this image out because it was disturbing until, after the second and then the third time it returned to my mind, I resigned myself: “Oh well, I cannot drive it away, this image, surely it must mean something.” Here, only when I accepted this, was I able to reflect on it; it seemed clear to me that this image was a picture of a situation experienced within the analysis and that it basically depicted a situation of impasse. In a situation where there is a sailing ship inside a bottle you do not travel. It represented one of those situations pictured by Conrad,1 when he described the situation in which the ship finds itself when there is no wind, motionless in a state of dead calm, without going anywhere. Reflecting on that image, something that I did not previously know became clear to me, that is, that I had not realised we actually were in a stalemate in the analytic situation, we were in a situation of impasse. This is very different from the metaphor, in the sense that the metaphor is when I use an image of something of which I am aware, the better to share it with the patient. For example, if I have realised that in this analysis we are in a situation of impasse, I can use a metaphor: “It seems to me that our situation resembles that described by Conrad, when the ship is adrift and there is no wind,” so I use a metaphor to share and spin into a narrative a metaphorical image of which I am already aware.

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Medium 9781782201823

Chapter Ten - Carla's Panic Attacks: Insight and Transformation

Civitarese, Giuseppe; Ferro, Antonino Karnac Books ePub

This paper is an initial reflection on the subject of panic attacks, based on the presentation of clinical material from the ongoing analysis of a female patient with severe pathology, of which such attacks were from the beginning the most conspicuous symptom. This clinical description is useful in my view because the “panic attack” is often attributed in the psychiatric literature to organic factors, so that analysis is held to be contraindicated. My chapter concludes with an attempt to define the general theoretical model underlying this symptom.

I wish to share with you the adventure in which I have found myself engaged with Carla and shall therefore come straight to the point. On my first meeting with this patient, the basic diagnosis I made to myself was agoraphobia and claustrophobia. In general I prefer as far as possible to avoid in-depth diagnosis, for fear of imposing an excessively rigid pattern on the material observed and its elaboration. I therefore relied on my countertransference feeling that it was right to take Carla into analysis; I felt that there was room in my group of patients at that time for one who was more seriously ill, and was also prepared to accept the difficulties and frustrations that might be involved in pursuing the associated line of research.

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