228 Chapters
Medium 9781855756687

III The Sorting of Zonal Confusions

Meltzer, Donald Harris Meltzer Trust ePub

IN the first two Chapters I have traced the early phases of the analytic process, first the gathering of the transference processes into the treatment, and second the differentiation of self and object which is brought about by the systematic investigation of the operation of massive projective identification, as it is intensified in the transference in relation to separation. It seems clear that, since massive projective identification can function to counter any configuration producing psychic pain at infantile levels, no other problem can really be worked through until this mechanism has been to some considerable degree abandoned. In the neurotic patient this may be accomplished in a matter of months or a year of analysis, but in borderline and psychotic patients it is the major work, taking years—and its accomplishment represents an analytic achievement of the first order. In fact, as I have said it would probably be called the crucial step in establishing fundamental health and removing the danger of psychotic deterioration.

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Medium 9781855757844

CHAPTER ONE: Psychoanalysis as a human activity

Meltzer, Donald Harris Meltzer Trust ePub

Introduction by Kenneth Sanders

The Psycho-Analytical Process (1967) was Donald Meltzer's first book. He and his colleagues were conscious that Melanie Klein had bequeathed a legacy of work to be done on the phenomenon she called projective identification, an infant's unconscious phantasy of intrusion into the interior of its mother which confuses identities. It was a time of great optimism and even excitement at the prospect of new discoveries and greater potency for psychoanalysis with both children and adults.

Yet the introduction to the book suggests that the term “intrusive identification” may be preferable to “projective identification”. It is evident that Meltzer's attention is also on the contemporary publications of Bion which are establishing a form of projective identification that is not intrusive but containing. In a few more years the view of the world seen from the intrusive “paranoid– schizoid” position, in conflict with the “depressive” position from the non-intrusive type of identification, will come to be seen as the essence of the analytic process, in which intrusions into the mind of the analyst are experienced and recognized as those of an internal child into an internal mother. Ten they may be studied, through containment and thought, unconsciously, in the “counter-transference” of the analyst.

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Medium 9781912567157

1. Field or Phase – a Debate on Psychoanalytical Modes of Thought

Meltzer, Donald Harris Meltzer Trust ePub

The rationale for shifting from theorising to model making has been pleaded at some length in The Kleinian Development and I will not repeat these arguments. In brief it seems clear that psychoanalysis, as a method for studying the workings of the human mind, is essentially a descriptive science and its field of study is phenomenologically infinite by its very nature. That is, the range of phenomena which this method is peculiarly suited to study by means of the transference is that embraced by the capacity of the mind to form symbols for the purpose of representing the meaning of emotional experiences so that they may be stored as memory (rather than held as recall), used for thinking (rather than merely being manipulated by computation and logical operations), and transformed into a variety of symbolic forms for communication of ideas (rather than being transmitted as bits of information). If this symbolic area be taken as the essence of mind as differentiated from brain its extensive development would appear to be the crucial function which marks off man from other animals. That it is a capacity not uniquely possessed by the human animal is evidenced by its indubitable, though limited, development in animals who live in close domestic relationship to man. Whether any computer yet developed can exhibit it I do not know, but see no reason why it should not be a potentiality of such machines.

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Medium 9781912567126

5. Symbols, Signs, Epitome, Quintessence

Meltzer, Donald Harris Meltzer Trust ePub

The models of the mind with which analysts work in their consulting rooms may be as various as the individuals who practise this method, but surely the great division is defined by the basic stuff with which they imagine themselves to deal, whether it is psychic energy or meaning. This cleavage naturally leads practitioners either towards the natural sciences for their metaphors, or towards theology and philosophy as embodied in myth and literature. Freud can clearly be seen to have been divided in his approach, using one for his theories and another for the description of clinical phenomena. In a certain sense the same could be said of the usage of Bion, where one type of metaphor is derived from mathematics and chemistry, and another set taken from mythology. But in Bion's case there is no cleavage in the underlying model of the mind, only in the form of exposition. What he has borrowed from mathematics or chemistry are modes of thought for dealing with the model of the mind that he constructed over a period of twenty years, a model dedicated to bringing within the purview of the psychoanalytical method those disturbances of thought which bulk so large in schizophrenia, but which now, with the help of his schema, can be detected in lesser forms in less disturbed patients, including of course ourselves in the consulting room.

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Medium 9781855757844

CHAPTER FOUR: A psychoanalytical model of the child-in-the-family-in-the-community

Meltzer, Donald Harris Meltzer Trust ePub

Introduction by Martina Campart

The work from which this extract is taken was commissioned from Donald Meltzer and Martha Harris in 1976 by the Organization for Economic and Cultural Development as part of a project to develop policies and programmes that would support families in their educational task.

The monograph presents a model of the learning processes as they take place in the child within the family within the community. The child's emotional, cognitive and social growth, as well as ethics and view of life, has its foundations in learning. We do not learn all in the same way and not all learning has the same value. Learning from experience is based on the ability to put up with uncertainty and mental pain, and promotes real growth. Other modes of learning, based on the denial of mental pain, are more imitative and superfcial, and hinder or lead to a “fake” kind of development. Tese are classifed as: learning by projective identification; by adhesive identification; by scavenging; delusional learning; and learning through submission to a persecutor.

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