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8: Femininity and desire

Glocer Fiorini, Leticia Karnac Books ePub

Subject and desire are two categories whose encounter in the field of femininity is conflictive. Female subjectivity questions its relation with the field of desire; the itineraries of desire in women still traverse imprecise territories.

The naturalist, complementary notions of sexuality signal a limit which is difficult to resolve. Masculine and feminine are polarities sustained throughout the ages, upholding significations regarding forces and principles considered basic for existence. However, these are debatable notions, both because of their strict dichotomy and because of the relative weights that their determinations (biological, psychological, socio-cultural) receive in the different theories. In addition, the categories of woman and the feminine are not equivalent and yet develop complex interrelations. Proposals to think in terms analogous to the masculine only hinder the development of these notions. Work with both concepts means separating them while also sustaining their relations and conflicts.

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Medium 9781780490953

Chapter One: Laughing your way through Life

Marcus, Paul Karnac Books ePub


Laughing your way through life

“There are two appropriate responses to frustration,” said the American writer Kurt Vonnegut, “you can laugh or you can cry. I prefer laughter, because there's less mopping up to do afterwards!” (Wooten, 1996, p. 23). Indeed, it is a well-known observation that the capacity to find humour amidst the difficulties of life is one of the best ways of effectively coping. “Gallows humour”, “black comedy” and “Jewish humour” are perhaps the best examples of the received wisdom that humour makes life bearable. Oscar Wilde, who, at the end of his life, was penniless and living in a cheap and nasty boarding house, allegedly said on his deathbed, “My wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death; one or other of us has got to go” (McCarthy, 2006, p. 194). In Monty Python's Life of Brian, a bunch of crucified criminals happily sing “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life”. A famous example of black comedy is the failed suicide in Beckett's Waiting for Godot, in which one of the characters removes his belt to hang himself and his trousers fall down! And, finally, during the time of tyranny and poverty in the Russian shtetls, there was a rumour in one village that a Christian girl had been found murdered nearby. Afraid of a pogrom, the villagers assembled in the synagogue. Suddenly, the rabbi came running up, and cried, “Wonderful news! The murdered girl was Jewish!” Mark Twain aptly summarised the beneficial effects of humour in making the challenges and hardships of life tolerable: “Humor is the great thing, the saving thing after all. The minute it crops up, all our hardnesses yield, all our irritations and resentments flit away, and a sunny spirit takes their place” (Peterson & Seligman, 1994, p. 584).

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Medium 9781782200413

Chapter Seven - Future Developments

Izod, Karen; Whittle, Susan Rosina Karnac Books ePub

Susan Rosina Whittle

This is a book about consulting to organisations—consulting to the tasks and processes of change, where the self is an essential tool of consulting practice. In working through the chapters, we have invited you to get to know yourself better by exploring your:

This chapter invites you to bring together what you have found out about yourself in working through this book. It helps you construct a development agenda against nine essential competencies for using yourself as an instrument. We end by encouraging you to watch out for shame, as a dynamic that can sink your developmental intentions, and to work with the narratives you use to help you tell different and developmental stories about yourself and your consulting practice.

Preparing for the future

In Mind-ful Consulting (Whittle & Izod, 2009), a collection of edited stories from consultants working within the Tavistock tradition, we emphasised a number of practice challenges:

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Medium 9781780491400

6: The Personality Organization of the Individual

Harris, Martha; Meltzer, Donald Harris Meltzer Trust ePub


The personality organization of the individual

Having now operated our model both centrifugally in the early sections dealing with general considerations, the general structure of the model and the dimensions of mental functioning; and then centripetally with respect to the levels of organization of mental life of the child-in-the-family-in-the-community; we come back to the psychoanalytical view of the mental life of the individual qua individual: namely that which is private to himself, essentially internal, and unknowable to anyone except himself.

Our task in this chapter must be particularly to examine the forces within the individual personality which favour social engagement of various sorts, whether it be in the service of growth and development, of defence against mental pain or of destructive attacks upon the growth and development of others.

We will take it that these are the three major categories of social engagement with which our model is expected to cope.

The first category corresponds essentially to the relationship with objects which assist in the modulation of the mental pain pursuant to growth; the defensive use of social relations embraces the area described as modification or evasion of mental pain; while destructive attacks on the growth and development of others may include the more violent forms of evasion (for instance, where a good part of the self has been projected into a younger sibling whose ability to grow is then molested), or certain primitive forms of violence (some vandalism, for instance) which appear to be simply expressions of infantile omnipotence and fairly meaningless.

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Medium 9781780491929

CHAPTER FIVE “Where the hell is everybody?” Leanna’s resistance to armed robbery and negative social responses

Karnac Books PDF


“Where the hell is everybody?”

Leanna’s resistance to armed robbery and negative social responses

Allan Wade

eanna (thirty-five) and Jane (sixty-four) were robbed at gunpoint while closing a department store for the night, with

“the take” for the day in hand. Two months later, Leanna phoned me to arrange counselling. We met six times over about six months while Leanna recovered and made some important life decisions. I found Leanna’s descriptions of her experience especially compelling and, two years later, asked if she and I might record a conversation about the robbery. She agreed and allowed me to use the interview for training purposes. This chapter centres on a twentyminute segment of this interview during which Leanna and I develop accounts of her responses to the robbery and to the series of negative social responses she experienced afterwards. As we explore Leanna’s responses in detail, using active grammar and descriptive terms,

Leanna emerges as an upright person who showed courage and composure while resisting the robbery and is justifiably indignant about the negative social responses she received.

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Medium 9781904658023

Chapter Six: The Hierophant, the Tower, the Sixes and the Princes

Hughes-Barlow, Paul Aeon Books ePub


The Hierophant, The Tower, The Sixes and the Princes

The Hierophant = 6, Vau Taurus, Single Letter

The Tower = 80, Peh Mars, Double Letter

Establishment versus destruction and chaos. The value of these two cards is 86, which is an important kabbalistic number: ALHYM, Gods (plural), HLLVYH Halleluyah, KVS, cup or chalice, LVYM the Levites, and YH YHVH ADM, The God of Adam.

Tipareth is the centre point of the Tree of Life, and means Beauty. In the Golden Dawn system this is where the Adept can meet his Holy Guardian Angel. This experience can be shattering as easily as illuminating. Once the Adept has met his HGA he has his own authority to act – he has no superiors to defer to. This is probably one of the key reasons why organisations such as the Golden Dawn ran into such factionalising.

The symbol of Tipareth is a young man, which is part of the reason why the Princes are associated with it. In some kabbalistic systems Tipareth is the centre point of Yetsirah, which relates to the element Air. Tipareth is also the junction point of Malkuth and Kether when Trees of Life are daisy-chained together. The polarity of these cards indicates maximum change with maximum stability.

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Medium 9781904658566

24. A Young Lutheran Struggles with Prayer: Images of Devotion

Daniels, Aaron B. Aeon Books ePub

I sit in a church basement classroom with a dozen or more other young Lutherans. The smell of oil soap permeates everything. We are all teenagers, 16 or 17 years old. For some reason, no Sunday School Teacher guides today’s unfolding discussion on prayer.

Four years previously, just before beginning catechism, I started reading the Victorian Freemasonic books my grandfather left after his death. Someone should, I suppose, have returned them to a Lodge, but, in the tumult after his death, far more pressing issues arose. These leather-bound tomes proved rife with the creative mix of myth and quasi-history that constitutes the Masonic allegorical cosmology. My head spun with images of Hiram Abif, Tubal Cain, and mysterious rituals hinted about or expressed in cryptic short-hand. With some persistence, I got past the hyperbole and learned about the Qabalah, Gnosticism, and Deism — or at least the Masonic scholars’ glosses on them. Out of this esoteric crazy quilt of Templars, Assassins, Egyptians, Hebrew Tribes, Revolutionaries, and Medieval Guilds, one particular idea slowly bored its way into my mind: The Inefability and Absolute Perfection of Ultimate Divinity. Combined with readings from New Age authors, Christian Science, Taoism, and my own curiously zealous and pious approach to Christianity, this doctrine of a Changeless and Perfect Principle of All Creation sizzled through my head — a long fuse in search of a hidden store of explosives.

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Medium 9781855759718

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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Medium 9781855759367

CHAPTER SEVEN: Blurred boundaries and bliss, union, communion and projective processes

Klein, Josephine Karnac Books ePub

In the chapters on love, the focus was on love. In this chapter the focus is on enjoyment, pleasure, happiness, and other such irenic feelings, not much mentioned at this time of writing except in connection with sex and other consumer goods. The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary defines bliss as “blitheness” and under blitheness we find “gladness, enjoyment, esp. the beatitude of heaven”. In connection with the adjective blithe, the Dictionary offers “jocund, gay, sprightly, merry, joyous, cheerful, glad, happy, well”, uncommon words, when we consider how frequently we encounter love-related words in print and speech. Is it just our convention not to allude to happiness, enjoyment and pleasure so much, or do we conceal these feelings from ourselves, or do we just not feel them so often? Certainly it is worth noting that, at the time of writing, at the turn of the mHlennium, psychotherapists are tending to ignore expressions of such positive feelings in the expectation that they cover other feelings, thought to be more genuine, of depression and anger. Are those psychotherapists always right about this, or are they projecting their own experiences of darkness on to a world that, whatever its appalling atrocities and occasional preference for dreariness, is yet at many moments cheerier than they can perceive? Is the only thoughtless fun we are allowed either in bed or under the influence of chemicals?

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Medium 9781855753129

3. An unimaginable substratum

Smith, David L. Karnac Books ePub

Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.

Aldous Huxley

In my discussion of the Freudian theory of transference in Chapter 2, I noted that psychoanalysts foreclose the possibility that so-called transference phenomena are in fact derivatives of accurate unconscious perceptions. That psychoanalysts do not entertain a theory of unconscious perception is not a mere oversight on their part. It is deeply rooted in the philosophy of mind to which Freud subscribed. In the present chapter I will place Freud’s philosophical position within its historical context1 and then go on to show why it is that the neglected concept of unconscious perception is, in truth, a very powerful alternative to the theory of transference.

The dichotomy between the concepts of the conscious and unconscious parts of the mind seems not to have been an issue prior to the Cartesian revolution of the early seventeenth century. The ancient Greeks did not make the distinction at all. Their main word for the mind, or soul - psyche - denoted a life force and was neutral with respect to consciousness. This view persisted through the medieval Aristotelian tradition until Descartes came on the scene. Descartes denied that the soul was the animating principle of the body and, in contradiction to the Aristotelians, placed it instead in a separate ethereal domain. Along with the spiritualization of the soul Descartes propounded a theory that the soul is transparent to itself. This view is clearly summarized in a letter from Descartes to Mersenne:

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Medium 9781855759169

CHAPTER SIX: The discovery of social dreaming

W Gordon Lawrence Karnac Books ePub

Laura Ambrosiano

Traditionally, we think that dreams are private, that they are the personal expression of intimate experiences that take place inside the individual mind. We hold on to this hypothesis even when, with Bion, we question these spatial definitions and consider the mind as a function that goes beyond the psychic borders of an individual, a function that develops from the dynamic relationship of container–contained, maternal reverie–child experience, group–individual.

The interpretation of the dream is linked to our way of conceiving subjectivity; the theoretical transformations of the notion of subject transform the way in which we comprehend and interpret dreams. The psychoanalytic orthodoxy defines the internal world of the subject as its privileged observation nucleus and sees the dream as a distorted representation of the ambivalent and conflicting desire (Freud, 1900a).

The studies on object relations describe the internal world as the stage where the objects relate to each other, and the privileged observation nucleus moves on to the analytic relationship. From this point of view, the dream is regarded as an expression of thoughts on the vicissitudes of the relationship between patient and analyst, on the potentialities of transformation, and on the difficulties and deadness that the patient is undergoing at that moment.

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Medium 9781855759770

3 The Psychodynamic Assessment of: Post-Traumatic States: David Taylor

Karnac Books ePub

In this chapter I want to describe how psychoanalytically-informed assessment interviews can be used to get a sense of the impact of traumatic events and an idea of the individual they have affected. Whatever its particular nature, the interaction between the event and the individual is always complex and getting a view of the ensuing psychological configurations is the basis for reasoning out subsequent therapies. The process of the assessment itself may free up some inherent processes of recovery, although the disturbance these interviews can induce sometimes leads to a temporary worsening.

In the interview, getting this kind of psychological perspective is entirely dependent upon arriving at a point of meaningful contact within the transaction between the patient and interviewer. The interviewer seeks to respond to some relevant, non-trivial aspect of the patient and his presentation and to use this understanding in his communications to the patient. Where this is successful, some aspect of the patient’s way of relating to others, to the interviewer, to himself and his experiences, including the traumatic event, becomes alive and vivid. This point of contact may then broaden so that the interviewer and/or the patient are able eventually to form a more meaningful view of the patient’s life and the events within it.

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Medium 9781855751392

13. The origins of rage and aggression

Symington, Neville Karnac Books ePub

It is a mistake to think that psychoanalysis has one theory. Psychoanalysis is a clinical methodology that encompasses a wide range of theories, and nowhere is this more evident than when psychoanalysts start to discuss the cause of aggression. At its most simple, there are two theories.

The first states that aggression arises when a human being’s basic needs are frustrated. This theory is based upon the homeo-static theory of motivation, which states that the organism has a built-in tendency to equilibrium, to homeostasis—that when inner tension arises, the organism is programmed to reduce that tension through incorporating food or water or finding an object that will satisfy a sexual need. Aggression arises when one of these needs is frustrated; aggression is therefore a reaction to frustration. The second theory states that aggression is a basic instinct in man. In summary, then, those who support the second theory say that man is a savage creature by nature, whereas those who support the first theory believe that man is essentially benign and only becomes savage when frustrated of his basic biological needs. I believe that both theories are wrong.

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Medium 9781855757202


Robert Waska Karnac Books ePub


A Kleinian view of psychoanalytic
couples therapy

Many couples and families struggling to improve their relationships are in treatment with psychoanalysts. In this complex and often quite challenging clinical arena, the central goal remains true to Freud’s and Melanie Klein’s original vision, the cultivation of a therapeutic process aimed at modifying core unconscious conflicts and object relational dynamics.

In the previous Chapters, I have described a clinically based approach to defining psychoanalysis-termed Analytic Contact that emphasizes the understanding and modification of internal states rather than relying on external criteria such as frequency, diagnosis, or duration as the primary focus. As such, analytic contact involves the consistent exploration and interpretation of the patient’s core phantasy states, which include self-object wishes, conflicts, fears, defences, and compromise solutions. In addition, the transference, counter-transference, extra-transference, interpersonal interactions, dreams, and the total intra-psychic landscape are given constant interpretive priority.

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Medium 9781855754959

CHAPTER FOUR: Psychoanalytic contributions to risk assessment and management

Karnac Books ePub

Jessica Yakeley


Dangerousness and madness have long been linked in the collective imagination, inspiring film and literature, fuelling the media and providing both fascination and fear for the general public. Although there is only a slightly increased, albeit significant, risk of violence amongst people with more serious mental disorders (Taylor and Estroff, 2003), in recent years, considerations of risk have become of central importance to all those working in the field of mental health. The closure of the old mental asylums and release of patients into a community that was insufficiently equipped to contain them, resulted in some highly publicized failures of community care in which serious incidents occurred (Reed, 1997). The ensuing public inquiries condemning the inadequate assessment of patients and the poor communication amongst the mental health professionals and other agencies involved, have created a culture of blame in which politicians and public alike appear more concerned with public protection than with the individual rights of the mentally ill patient. The waters become even muddier when the offender's mental state and behaviour do not fit neatly into a psychiatric diagnostic category but are attributed to an abnormality of character. Public outrage over sex-offenders and so-called “dangerous severe personality disorder” have contributed to the recent proposals for legislation requiring psychiatrists to forcibly detain people who may commit some dangerous act in the future but have not done so yet. Understandable though these anxieties might be, they have the capacity to seriously damage progress towards less authoritarian and custodial mental health services. This is of relevance not only in the forensic mental health services but in all mental health and psychotherapeutic practice.

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