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11. Defences of the self

Fordham, Michael Karnac Books ePub

This chapter is largely descriptive. It defines the “total defence” exhibited by patients in a transference psychosis. In this everything the analyst says is apparently done away with either by silence, ritualization of the interviews or by explicit verbal and other attacks direct to nullifying the analytic procedure.

Before starting to study this condition, it may be useful to glance at the history of defence theory, so that the subject may be put in perspective. Defences were originally postulated when patients resisted analytic work. When transference analysis was introduced, the resistance took on a new dimension. Nonetheless they persisted: interpretations - especially those which referred to instinctual and infantile drives - which seemed evident to the analyst were at first denied by the patient. However, it was held that, as long as the analyst did not capitulate, resistances could be overcome so long as time was given for working through: the unconscious content would emerge from the unconscious and become accepted. These findings were based mainly on the analysis of hysterical patients, and they are still relevant to much analysis of the transference neuroses: we still pay attention to repressed contents and endeavour to make them conscious by following and interpreting the patient’s defensive use of symbolization, displacement, compensation, conversion, reaction formation etc., with a view to making conscious what is unconscious. Since then there has been a development in analytic technique by ego psychologists, particularly in the United States where it is held, to put it all too briefly, that the essential feature of analysis is defence analysis. If that is well conducted then unconscious processes in the id will become conscious in a way that can be satisfactorily assimilated. The technique is subtle and interesting, but if that technique were used without identifying the unconscious process against which the defences are constructed, it would leave the patient with no idea about what his resistances were all about.

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9. An interpretation of Jung's thesis about synchronicity

Fordham, Michael Karnac Books ePub

In the previous chapter, reference was made to synchronicity and an example was given illustrating some features of it. The matter needs further discussion.

It is well understood today by many scientists that the concept of causality is inadequate in their discipline and that probability theory and attention to the future (prediction) are more important. In this development biologists have played a leading part (e.g. Bronowski, 1960). But scientists are loath to consider whole situations. They select a single or a small number of data, isolating them so as to exclude undesirable variables. They can thus make experiments under controlled conditions.

That does not provide a method for assessing situations where such control is impossible and where apparently arbitrary events rule the day. I am reminded here of Tolstoy’s account of war, in which unforeseen events are so frequent that the conduct of a battle seems more determined by them than by thought out plans of action. The total situation in all its rapidly changing aspects eludes rational order.

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M. FORDHAM: Notes on the transference

Karnac Books ePub

MICHAEL FORDHAM

PART I. INTRODUCTION

In his foreword to ‘Psychology of the transference’ Jung says: ‘The reader will not find an account of the clinical phenomena of the transference in this book. It is not intended for the beginner, who would first have to be instructed in such matters, but is addressed exclusively to those who have already gained sufficient experience in their own practice.’ (Jung, 1946, p. 165).

It is nothing short of astonishing to find how little has been published in the past about the clinical transference experiences that Jung presupposes in his essay. There is no reference to the subject in the index of Baynes’s comprehensive series of case studies, Mythology of the soul, nor does Frances G. Wickes make specific reference to it in her book, The inner world of man, while J. Jacobi devotes to it only a cursory discussion in her authoritative work, The psychology of C. G. Jung. Recently, however, papers by Adler, Henderson, Moody, Plaut, Stein and myself (1957a) have appeared, and these have begun the filling-in of Jung’s outline, which this essay continues. Here I shall discuss those aspects of the transference that have struck me as especially significant because they have given rise to discussion among trainee analysts and colleagues. I have not attempted to define the term in detail, since this has been done already by Stein (1955a), and it is only necessary to state that it will be used here in a wide sense to cover the contents of the analytic relationship.

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13. Is God supernatural?

Fordham, Michael Karnac Books ePub

I will introduce my subject by explaining that my vertex to religion is based on the assumption that analytical psychology, like psychoanalysis, is methodologically scientific. Some theories in each discipline have been submitted to experimental and statistical investigation under laboratory conditions; however, each science mainly relies on field work, in which observations are collected relevant to current theory. Analytical sessions themselves, however, provide evidence of both observational and experimental levels of sophistication. They provide information. When sufficient has been collected, it becomes possible to initiate experiments. The experimental instrument is the interpretation of data provided by the patient and the validity of the interpretation is tested by its effect on the patient. It is these tested interpretations and the collected information which form the basis on which generalizations, commonly found in analytic literature, rest.

The generalizations have been applied in a variety of continguous fields of study one of which is religion, since that is a manifestation of the psyche. It can be assumed that the arguments of analysts when applied to religion can have the same validity as the theories they evolve and data they discover in the clinical field; I do not hold this view. I trust that my position will be apparent in the rest of the argument, but I will note here that, since clinical data are collected on the assumption that whatever the patient says is an expression of part of the total personality, they cannot refer directly to the transcendent religious field. Therefore, whatever analysts have to say about religion is essentially conjectural and less reliable than conclusions referable to their psychological vertex.

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7. Mental health

Fordham, Michael Karnac Books ePub

It was not so much the concept of mental health as that of mental disease that transformed our mental hospitals. The diseased patients became those who suffered unreasonably from psychic pain, often expressed through their bodies, or who challenged ordinary standards of behaviour or who were possessed by ideas, imaginings etc., which seemed strange unacceptable or menacing.

To conceive of these as deviations from a “norm” and not as crimes and moral defects (possession by spirits of one kind or another) opened the door to their scientific investigation and to a more humane and rational treatment of patients. Released from legal restraint and moral condemnation, they came under the umbrella of the medical profession.

Of course, the recognition of mental disease implied that of mental health and a majority of any community considered themselves mentally fit. To be mentally well was to be normal, and it became so regarded: any suggestion of mental failing soon became met with resentment - the standard of mental health had become a social judgement. Whatever may be thought of that prejudice, it underlines the notion that mental health is largely a matter of judgement and that judgement may be wrong with serious consequences. The social criteria lack depth and become a prejudice. To compare it with a physical condition it is like saying that a person with certain symptoms or malignant disease asserts that he is normal and will not allow further investigation.

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