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1. The model

Fordham, Michael Karnac Books ePub

In the history of analytical psychology, observations came first and then theoretical constructions. Thus Jung started by making association experiments on normal and pathological persons, went on to practise psychoanalysis and later gained knowledge from his own self-analysis. On the basis of experiences derived from these sources he developed generalizations about the structures and processes within the psyche.

In this book I shall give priority to the practice of analytical psychology as an experience. To begin with I started off with the idea of leaving out generalizations and abstractions, but this proved difficult and misleading. Though, in the discourse between patient and analytical therapist, theoretical ideas are for much of the time eschewed so that the patient may have full scope to develop his own feelings, thoughts, fantasies, dreams, memories and so forth that come to his mind without intervention on the part of the analyst, it cannot be said that an analyst has no model at the back of his mind comprising the sum of past experience and reflections upon it. So I found it inevitable, in developing my thesis, to make reference to theoretical concepts whether or not I liked the idea. This chapter is thus a concession that I have made in the hope that it will assist the reader to orientate himself with greater ease. It is not intended as a comprehensive statement but rather as notes by way of introduction to what follows, and so that terms used in the text may be defined and placed in the context of an abstract model.1

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The unimaginable touch of time

Michael Fordham Karnac Books ePub


About three years ago it struck me that time plays a very special role in some analyses, and I started to make notes after sessions in which time, or the discussion of time—in this or that aspect—had been prominent.

My paper has grown out of these notes on nine patients.

The first part is about the sense of time, that is, ego time, for time is experienced by the ego. It is subdivided into: (1) time rigidly imposed on the infant, and (2) the patient’s actions with time, e.g. wasting time, stealing time. The second part of the paper is on the archetypal aspect of time: free time and the devouring mother.

Interest in time—I might almost say fascination with time—sent me to the poets, and I have acknowledged this in the title of the paper, which is taken from the last line of Wordsworth’s poem ‘Mutability’. Time is one of the topics perennially engaging poets: they are aware of its psychic importance, they have represented it in countless images and symbols throughout the ages. Thinking further about time, I realized that it was apposite to my emerging theme that in some languages the word for time is masculine, in others it is feminine or neuter. In this it is like the words for sun, for moon, for death. For example, die Zeit and le temps; der Tod and la mort; die Sonne and le soleil; der Mond and la lune; das Leben, das Schicksal and la vie, le destin. There are also masculine, feminine and androgynous world-creating and life-destroying gods. These observations in the field of mythology and etymology have I think yielded a fuller understanding of the patients’ unconscious links with an archetypal background.

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10. Countertransference

Fordham, Michael Karnac Books ePub

In this chapter I shall approach the subject of countertransference starting from Jung’s conception of analytic practice as a dialectical process between two involved persons (selves). By implication he advocated an open systems viewpoint. A closed system is one with clearly defined limits or boundaries; two persons may stand in relation to each other yet function as distinct entities. In their conversation words have an agreed meaning or, if there are disjunctions in their communications, these can be clarified by reference to the psychical system of one or the other. Open systems, on the other hand, are those in which boundaries are not fixed, with the result that the two systems - patient and analyst-interact, change and transform themselves in relation to eacn other. Difficulties or confusions therefore require a change in both psychical systems before validation is possible.

Developments in psychoanalysis appear to have led psychoanalysts close to conceptions being worked on by analytical psychologists, particularly in London. I have used the work of psychoanalysts extensively and recognize that many of my propositions were considered before I thought of them. However, I shall not refer to their specific publications but will content myself with making a general acknowledgement to the following: Bion, Heimann, Klauber, Langs, Little, Meltzer, Money-Kyrle, Racker, Searles and Winnicott (for a complete review, see Langs, 1976).

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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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M. FORDHAM: On terminating analysis

Karnac Books ePub


During the last ten years or so I have become more and more impressed with the importance of how an analysis ends. Since my ideas have not crystallized sufficiently, I have made a framework for discussion to take place: sometimes I shall simply make headings and sometimes expand briefly.

To start with, the distinction between an analysis that stops and one that ends is helpful. What is the difference ?

By stopping is meant a one-sided separation. The following factors may enter into it:

(a) Financial stringency. In this situation the patient will not or cannot continue to pay money for what he receives;

(b) Change of work essential to the patient’s career, involving moving to a place from which the analyst cannot be reached;

(c) Overt or latent delusional transference;

(d) Overt or latent delusional counter-transference;

(e) Termination by the analyst because further analysis is known to be fruitless.

Ending, on the other hand, is separation to which both analyst and patient agree. The nature of the agreement will emerge as the discussion proceeds. But, to start with, here is an idealized and very much over-simplified version of an end, to illustrate how it could take place.

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