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Medium 9781855756731

Section B: CLINICAL SEXUAL PSYCHOPATHOLOGY

Meltzer, Donald Harris Meltzer Trust ePub

MUCH of the task before us in this Chapter has already been done or adumbrated in Chapter 9, but a certain amount of tracing of implications is still required. It is of particular interest that the psycho-analyst seldom hears much about his patient’s adult sexual relationships, since the transference situation draws to it the associations related almost exclusively to the infantile and perverse aspects of sexual behaviour and phantasy currently contaminating the patient’s sexual life. For this reason, adherence to the primary rule ensures a tactful preservation of the privacy of the adult love life of the patient, and therefore the privacy of his partner.

Recognition of this fact relieves the analyst of part of the pressure of certain countertransference anxieties, of intrusiveness and meddling, while also placing him in a position to recognise that dutiful reporting of sexual activities by a patient is almost certainly a breach of the primary rule involving an acting-in, and possibly -out, of the transference, in which the sexual partner is being made to represent an excluded part of the infantile self. The analyst need never worry about the content of information being withheld by the patient regarding his sexual behaviour, since the moment such withholding takes place the content itself is no longer to the point: the behaviour of withholding itself needs to be the focus of investigation.

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Medium 9781912567126

7. The Interaction of Visual and Verbal Language in Dreams

Meltzer, Donald Harris Meltzer Trust ePub

It is difficult, in a book of this sort, to make headway with the problems to which we must now address ourselves, without attempting far more than we can hope to accomplish. We have already hurled ourselves at the mysterious problem of symbol formation in the visual area with, I think, some yield. We must now do the same in the verbal area. This takes us immediately into a confrontation with modern linguistics, semantics and psycholinguistics, for it is necessary once again, as in the chapter on mutism in Explorations in Autism, to dissociate psychoanalytic thought about language from two main currents. The first of these is the current which allies itself to information theory and engineering, decoding and mathematics. The other is a more anthropological, mystical one concerned with ethical problems surrounding man's view of his own prehistory.

It may seem unnecessary to enter into this debate, but it may eventually appear that the specific dissociation from them also highlights the problem of identification in language and the deeply emotional roots of grammar. In the chapter on mutism I suggested a two-tiered structure of language, one operating from the depths of the unconscious for the purpose of transmitting states of mind through the operation of projective identification, while the other, more conscious, superimposes words upon this deep music for the purpose of communicating information about the outside world. Ecological studies suggest that both of these operate in animals, mainly the former in mammals and the latter in insects. Man has fused the two and even, in his religious history, attempted to find words for states of mind. This theological prelude to literature may have blossomed but it is clear that only a very few gifted individuals have ever mastered its subtle techniques.

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Medium 9781912567157

11. Clinical Application of Bion's Concept ‘Reversal of Alpha-Function’

Meltzer, Donald Harris Meltzer Trust ePub

When a new theory is proposed in psychoanalysis it can be said to undertake two functions: one is to organise in a more aesthetic (beautiful?) way the clinical phenomena that have already been observed; the other is to provide a tool of observation that will open to view previously invisible phenomena of the consulting room. Bion, beginning with his papers on schizophrenia, sought to amplify the model of the mind which we employ in psychoanalysis so that processes of thinking and disturbances in this capacity could be investigated. The first systematic presentation of this effort, Learning from Experience, formulated an ‘empty’ concept of alpha-function by means of which the ‘observation of the sense impressions of emotional experiences’ were converted into elements, building-blocks for dream thoughts, which could be used for thinking, might be available for storage as memory, and whose continuity formed a ‘contact barrier’ that separated conscious from unconscious mental processes.

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Medium 9781855757844

CHAPTER TEN: Aesthetic conflict

Meltzer, Donald Harris Meltzer Trust ePub

Introduction by Lennart Rambert

Meltzer had long recognized that patients in successful analysis, when approaching weaning, often had experiences of an aesthetic relation to the object—be it their partner, nature, or the analysis as such.

His experiences, especially from child-analysis and from studies of life in utero, and not least, his memory of experiencing his newly delivered grandchild looking into his mother's eyes, convinced him that the mind's first whole hearted launch into the outer world is to the mother-in-reverie. In the ensuing enchantment, links form between the epistemological drive for Knowledge and the Bionic vectors of Love and Hate, resulting in a strong—but the same time brittle—convergence of passionate feeling-thinking: an emotional experience, and food for thought.

This is the mould for all future aesthetic experiences, outer and inner, and is the most sought for relation to the object/outer world all through life. For in order to explore more deeply the nature of the creative process in psychoanalysis, especially the role of the internal objects—the thinking breast and the combined object— in creating an ego-ideal, he together with his stepdaughter, the psychoanalytically well informed writer and artist Meg Harris Williams, turned to poetry and literature. Tey wrote this book together, even if their thoughts are presented in separate chapters; and experiencing analysis resonates with the poet's relation to his Muse.

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Medium 9781912567423

9. (1914) Mourning and Melancholia (Identification Processes)

Meltzer, Donald Harris Meltzer Trust ePub

CHAPTER NINE

Mourning and melancholia (identification processes)

I would like to discuss now that rather interesting period in the early years of the First World War when Freud had very few patients, since his students were mainly from abroad, and when he had time to think and take stock of the science which he had fathered – or mothered. He realized that there were great difficulties in every direction: in the training direction, in the theoretical direction, in the technical direction and also in conceiving its place in the world and what it might reasonably mean as part of the culture. He had been considerably stirred up earlier by the so-called defections of Adler and Jung and in the years from 1910 or 1911 onward there are outbursts against them in his writings every once in a while. They are interesting outbursts because their content often suggests that he is reviling them for just those things about which he is really troubled himself and with which he has not yet come to grips. For example, much of what he reviles Jung for will in fact later turn into his revision of instinct theory, although it is of course not quite the same as Jung's theory. He is reviling Jung for abandoning the central role of sexuality, the libido theory and so on in favour of something that he considered to be a watered-down, popularly acceptable product. Twelve or fifteen years later, it changes in his own hands into the new instinct theory, in which sexuality is not given this primary place but has to take its position within the life instincts and be opposed to what he calls the ‘death instinct’. Similarly in his reviling of Adler, mainly for his masculine protest and his will-to-power theories, one finds the harbingers of Freud's later struggle with the whole problem of hatred and evil and destructiveness, which finally became the concept of the death instinct.

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