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Chapter Six - The Bodymind Character Structure

Asaf Rolef Ben-Shahar Karnac Books ePub

My body was wiser than me

Its pain threshold lower than mine

It said enough

When I said more

My body

My body stopped

When I carried on (and oh, I carried on)

My body could not

It failed

And I got up and had to walk

And my body at my wake

—Yona Wallach (1992, p. 155), “My Body Was Wiser than Me”1

Introduction

One of the central notions in body psychotherapy is the understanding that developmental processes and developmental difficulties are both expressed in our body, particularly in our musculature. Learning about the development of character structure (and character armour) is central in the majority of body psychotherapy trainings. The term character structure, as it is used in this chapter, denotes three different facets: a developmental stage, a character rigidity, and character style.

Developmental stage: The first aspect of character structure relates to natural and organic developmental processes taking place during the first six years of our lives. Similar to early psychoanalytic models, body psychotherapy has a bodymind developmental model which characterises shared and parallel themes alongside the developmental axis. For example, all foetuses develop a startle reflex (where the arms are laterally jerked upon a sudden stimulus) and only later develop the Moro reflex, in which the arms jerk sideways and then, quickly, cling and grasp. The Moro reflex can be life-saving: it enables the baby to firmly hold on to the parent, thus to avoid falling if he is accidentally dropped. Another example is the move between horizontal posture (when the baby lies down or crawls) to vertical posture—when the toddler stands up and walks: during healthy and normal development, all babies transition from lying down and crawling, to standing and walking, a transition which carries great bodily and muscular consequences as well as psychological ones—a new bodymind organisation. The quality and rhythm of our bodily changes make sense, and could be relevant to understanding psychological processes in childhood and adulthood. As we shall later see, bodymind character structures indicate the natural progression of musculature and somatic organisation and development (and the erogenous zones identified with these developmental stages).

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Medium 9781855754645

CHAPTER THREE: The ADHD/ADD adopted/looked after child at home and in the community

Randy Lee Comfort Karnac Books ePub

“I want to make a new start but don't know where to begin. I wish things could have been done different, no matter how loud I talk, no one seems to listen.” (Seventeen-year-old boy in care)

My father always told me that the best way to lose weight is to push yourself away from the table. That was, indeed, a good strategy as long as I did not then closet myself in my room with a box of chocolate biscuits. I point this out because it is my strong contention that there is no single strategy that works for everyone, and there are no absolute recipes that any of us can follow successfully to improve the behaviour and concentration of an ADHD child, of an adopted/looked after child or of any other child.

My own “recipe” for making things better is for each parent/ carer to try to know what makes his/her individual child tick. It is important to try to figure out when a child will go off the rails, will respond positively, will be able to succeed, and will quite definitely not be able to handle the situation. While this may be similar for some ADHD/ADD adopted/looked after children, the circumstances, especially for the adopted/looked after child, are so individualized and unique that generalities do not always apply. There is no magic formula.

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Medium 9781855759145

1. The Insistence ojthe Image: Hitchcock’s Vertigo

Praveen Adams, Editor Karnac Books ePub

MARK COUSINS

So successfully does the structure of Hitchcock’s Vertigo flout Hollywood conventions about narrative and film itself that this fact frequently escapes comment. The film falls into two distinct parts and it would be possible to imagine that the first part, culminating with the death of Madeleine and the collapse of Scottie into mute depression, could be shown by itself. Imagine it: we would have a compressed but complete melodrama that opens with the discovery of Scottie’s vertigo and closes with his inability to rescue Madeleine because of that symptom. Her mounting insanity, which drives her up the tower of the Mission, places her beyond the love of Scottie and the solicitude of her husband, Gavin Elster. This would be the outline of the narrative if the film ended here, and its narrative would have a completely consistent point of view—the whole film would be represented from the subjective point of view of Scottie alone. Now if this were the case, the interpretation of central issues would be able to be made with a certain predictable consistency. It is worth putting all this to the test; in the first part of the essay, I will restrict myself to the first part of the film as (/the second half did not exist. In the second part, I will deal with the second half of the film and its radical reworking of how we understand the first half of the film. This device suggests itself as a way of demonstrating how much work the second half of the film accomplishes against our appropriation of the first half.

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Medium 9781855751453

13 On some aspects of human violence

Limentani, Adam Karnac Books ePub

AS VIOLENCE APPEARS to have a particular attraction for human beings, not all its manifestations should be regarded as abnormal. Let us consider, for instance, acts committed in the course of wars, revolutions, and even terrorism, when a different view will be taken according to the side taken by the observer.

My interest in this theme is derived from a sense of unease caused by serious contradictions about what experts have to say on this topic. Some will argue that any attempt to understand human violence is a waste of time, whilst others insist that we should take into account the rights of individuals against those who wish to protect the interests of the community, and so on. I do not wish to appear an alarmist, even if I refer to the unchecked increase in violence in all kinds of societies right across the globe. On the other hand, I feel that we should not ignore the fact that many of us no longer feel safe in the environment in which we live. The prevalence of violent material offered by the media to the public, whether it is based on fact or fiction, needs to be justified and explained. It is possible that these so-called artistic expressions, or the desire to disseminate the truth, are not harmful; indeed, it will be contended that they provide a useful outlet to the aggressivity of the majority. Others will observe this phenomenon with apprehension and fear. Ernest Jones tried to assume an unbiased position, in 1915, when he posed many questions in his essay on ‘War and sublimation’: ‘In war, things are done by a large number of men on both sides, of a kind that is totally foreign to their accustomed standard of ethical conduct during peace, and the question arises, what is the source of the impulses thus vented and the relationship to the controlling forces of civilized life?’ Jones goes on to note that

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Medium 9780946439881

3. Exploration and therapy in family work

Karnac Books ePub

Beta Copley

The role and influence of the family in relation to the difficulties being experienced by a child or an adolescent may vary widely and depend on many complex factors—both within the individual and within the family. In chapter two it was a member of the young child’s family, his mother, through whom the therapist felt the boy could be appropriately helped and supported. This chapter explores family work in terms both of its diagnostic and its therapeutic potential. The latter may emerge as being of particular relevance either to the individual or to the family as a group. A number of clinical examples illustrate these processes, and a number of approaches to family therapy are discussed.

[R.S.]

Families in distress can be bewildered in their search for help; services may need to ponder the best way to intervene. Initial explorations can be useful. These can take different forms and have varied outcomes. An initial contact with a family can range from a short consultation to a more dynamic brief intervention. It may or may not be an introduction to further work, either with the family as a whole or with individual members. The term ‘exploration’ seems preferable to that of ‘assessment’ because it has a more dynamic connotation, allowing for the possibility of something being accomplished within such a process itself. ‘Exploration’ also lends itself more readily to the idea of a two-way process. Feelings within a family about the nature of the service and the institution offering it may need to be thought about openly. ‘Assessment’ can carry both passive and persecutory connotations, with implications of being assessed ‘for’ something—and possibly found wanting. Here I first discuss some psychoanalytically informed exploratory work with families, followed by a longer-term intervention; with these in mind I outline underlying concepts and indications for this method of work. I then consider this approach in the context of other schools of family therapy.

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Medium 9781780491813

Chapter Ten - The Transgenerational Pattern of Trauma Transmission

Beata Maciejewska Karnac Books ePub

Prophecy Coles

 

 

 

 

I have recently written a book exploring the unconscious transmission of intergenerational trauma, The Uninvited Guest of The Unremembered Past, published by Karnac in August 2011. One chapter explores the theme of an unremembered dead sibling. For instance, the death of Freud's mother's brother, Julius, one month before Freud's brother Julius died. Similarly, André Green's mother's younger sister was burned to death in an accidental fire at his birth. The impact of the unexamined losses of maternal siblings upon Freud and Green might add to Freud's concept of the death drive and Green's chilling landscape of the Dead Mother.

I explore the clinical case of a middle-aged woman, Muriel. When she was seven, her father died on his return from the Second World War. In her internal world, he is a stranger. We discover that she had lived in a “secret identification” with her father's dead brother, who had died a hero in the First World War. The fantasies that this dead brother had had upon Muriel are unravelled. Significantly, Muriel's father had lived under the shadow of this “heroic” brother. Muriel's grandparents had idealised their dead son and Muriel's father felt an angry failure in comparison. Gradually, Muriel's “secret identification” with her dead uncle wanes and she feels devastation when her father dies. Most movingly, an unconscious fantasy reveals that she believed that, by becoming the uncle, she could alleviate her father's pain at his sibling loss and comfort her grandparents for the loss of their son.

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Medium 9781855757660

ADDENDUM A: Constraint of method and/or constraint of finality

Jean-Luc Donnet Karnac Books ePub

Ithink it would be interesting to return to a fragment of an article (Donnet, 1989) in which I discussed two points of Tzvetan Todorov 's (1977)1 theory of the symbol.

1. With regard to symbolic language, Todorov rejects the point of view that all discourse is symbolic. He defends the duality of a direct, immediately understood discourse, and of a discourse which calls for interpretation. So he refers, as if to an essential criterion, to the feeling of the ‘language user ’. It seemed to me that the subjective character of this criterion could be compared with an essential psychoanalytic concern: the feeling of the ‘couch user ’. In the light of this analogy, it was interesting to examine the duality Todorov has identified concerning the intra- or extra-textual indices underlying the decision to interpret. As far as the couch user is concerned, this decision is a function of the presumed admissibility of the interpretation. In the initial logic of the fundamental rule, the Einfall, as an involuntary thought, naturally appeared to be a fragment of symbolic discourse that was linked to a return of the repressed and that required interpretation.

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Medium 9781855758216

CHAPTER FOUR. Assessment of a patient’s anxiety

Robert J. Neborsky Karnac Books ePub

When there is anxiety at the onset of the therapeutic encounter, we could say that the patient’s anxiety is somewhere on the continuum between anxiety as a transference reaction and anxiety as a sign of generalized anxiety.

In patients with a high capacity to regulate anxiety, signs of anxiety will be reflected by a pattern of facial muscle behaviour and by tension of other striated skeletal muscles, by a pattern of sympathetic reactivity and sensory vigilance. The proportion of somatomotor manifestations would be higher than the proportion of autonomic manifestations. The rise of the respective manifestations would be slow, and the duration of the manifestations would be relatively short. Such a patient would report various concerns in terms of (subjectively) perceived reality and cognitions, and he would accurately perceive the internal state of his periphery and label it as anxiety.

In practice, we seldom meet such patients at the initial interview. Mostly, we meet patients whose pattern of physiological anxiety manifestations reveals that they are less or not at all capable of adequately regulating their anxiety for their own benefit. In these cases, the proportion of autonomic manifestations is higher than somatomotor manifestations and/or there is cognitive and/or perceptual dysfunctioning. The rise and spread of physiological manifestations is fast and high and the duration of the respective manifestations is relatively long and the velocity of fall of anxiety manifestations is slow. Often, although they suffer from their symptoms, such patients do not report anxiety because they are not (accurately) processing their internal state, and in this way—of course—they maintain their inability to self-regulate their anxiety and, in due time, their anxiety will continue to grow worse and will eventually generalize.

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Medium 9781855758827

CHAPTER SIXTEEN: Working with the traumatic memories

Alison Miller Karnac Books ePub

The DID and DDNOS created by ritual abuse and mind control cannot be resolved without putting together the traumatic experiences which initially created the dissociation. The focus of dissociation treatment is not to make recovery a fact-finding mission. As Richard Kluft (1997), a leader in the field of dissociative disorder treatment, states in “On the treatment of traumatic memories of DID patients: Always? Never? Sometimes? Now? Later?” (what a wonderful title!), “The integration of the DID patient’s identity appears to require the working through his or her traumatic memories, however flawed with regard to historical accuracy and however unsettling work with such memories may be” (p. 80).

Just as dissociation itself is both a psychological and a physiological process, so, too, is its resolution. “Memory work” is the common term for the therapeutic process through which all of these physical and psychological pieces are re-associated. In biological terms, memory fragments belonging to the different senses (sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch and other body sensations), along with the various emotions, are fed through the hippocampus to the brain’s cerebral cortex, where they become integrated. In this way they move from the unconscious to the conscious mind, from separated (dissociated) to connected (associated). What was formerly a dissociated, “forgotten” memory is now consciously remembered. It no longer erupts in disturbing ways or creates flashbacks. It also loses much of its emotional “punch.” And it becomes part of the person’s life, which is less fragmented.

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Medium 9781855755642

Chapter One: Research methods and structure

Linda Root Fortini Karnac Books ePub

The aim of this research project is to study sibling relationships in a group of sextuplets, to observe each individual child's development and relationship with the mother as well as the mother's relationship to the sibling group as a whole.

The study was carried out in two phases using different methods. In the first phase we studied the development of the sextuplets by Infant Observation for the period from age six and a half months to three and a half years. The second phase focused on their development in late adolescence, from age 18 to 21 years, using various instruments, in particular projective and intelligence tests and a socio-relational questionnaire. No observations or systematic psy-chodynamic evaluations were done during the 15 years in-between the two phases.

The aim of the first phase of the project was to observe the sextu-plet group in infancy and early childhood, in particular the relationships among these siblings and each individual child's relationship with the mother as well as with the other family members. There was a group discussion of the report presented by the observer after each of the 31 observations (including one at the nursery school and the last two at six month intervals). The method established by Esther Bick (1964) consists of observing the development of an infant in his family environment for one hour a week from birth to the age of two. The observer does not take notes during the session, but writes afterwards a detailed report of everything that has happened in chronological order. This report is then read aloud and discussed in depth in the weekly seminar, with not more than ten participants and supervised by a psychoanalyst or psychotherapist specialized in Infant Observation. The method involves three basic stages: 1) the observation of the child in the family situation, 2) detailed transcripts of each observation, and 3) seminar discussions in a small group. These three stages allow the observer to learn about the baby's primitive psychic world, to understand non-verbal communication, and to follow the development of the mother-child relationship.

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Medium 9781855756038

BION IN NEW YORK AND SÃO PAULO (1977/1978)

Bion, Wilfred R. Karnac Books PDF

BION IN NEW YORK

AND SÃO PAULO

1977/1978

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Bion in New York and São Paulo was first published in 1980 by the Roland Harris

Educational Trust & Clunie Press, Strath Tay.

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Bion in New York and São Paulo

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PREFACE

Wilfred Bion died in Oxford on 8 November 1979 less than a week after he was diagnosed as suffering from myeloid leukaemia. The content of this book was approved by him in 1978.

The two series of discussions form an illuminating contrast: The

1978 South American visit was Bion’s third to São Paulo and fourth to Brazil; his method of presenting his subject was, therefore, familiar to those taking part. The visit to New York in 1977 was his first.

It must be admitted that for those looking for cut-and-dried

‘answers’ Bion’s method was inexplicable, frustrating and aggravating. Here was a man, thoroughly conversant with his subject, exceptionally articulate and therefore well able to supply questioners with what they wanted to hear – and he knew it. But he was steadfast in his respect for the truth and would not be persuaded against his better judgement to follow a course in which he could not respect himself. He believed that “La réponse est le malheur de la question”; both in his professional and private life problems stimulated in him thought and discussion – never answers. His replies – more correctly, counter-contributions – were, in spite of their apparent irrelevance, an extension of the questions. His point of view is best illustrated in his own words: “I don’t know the answers to these questions – I wouldn’t tell you if I did. I think it is important to find out for yourselves”

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Medium 9781780490045

11. Co-morbidity: childhood depression and anxiety in family therapy

Gillian Miles Karnac Books ePub

David Campbell

This chapter explores the family therapy process for children diagnosed with childhood depression who also showed a significant reduction of anxiety during therapy. It questions whether the concept of co-morbidity is helpful for systemic/family therapists, and proposes interventions that may help reduce anxiety in the context of family therapy.

The chapter is based on a qualitative research study that applied a discourse analysis of 17 transcripts from family therapy sessions with seven children and their families who were part of the larger outcome study that compared family therapy to individual child psychotherapy combined with parent work.

In the outcome study, approximately 25 instruments and questionnaires were used to measure the baseline, end of therapy, and follow-up levels of functioning for each of 72 children. One of the phenomena of childhood depression cited in the literature is the prevalence of anxiety along with the depression (Angold & Cos-tello, 1993). This is referred to as co-morbidity, and the original study addressed this by including the Birmaher Anxiety Scales (Birmaher et al., 1996) among its 25 measures.

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Medium 9781855750913

8. Psychoanalysis and literature: a psychoanalytic reading of The Turn of the Screw

Richard Ekins Karnac Books ePub

Ronnie Bailie

It is not for nothing that The Turn of the Screw has attracted more psychoanalytic attention (inter alia, Brooke-Rose, 1981; Katan, 1962, 1966; Wilson, 1952) than anything else that Henry James wrote. Even without the benefit of a psychoanalytic training, the average reader is likely to have a powerful intuition of extraordinary and murky psychological depths in the piece. No need here to get behind the veneer of polite drawing-rooms and elaborate cerebration to the unconscious core, for The Turn of the Screw reads like the relatively undistorted unconscious communication that it actually is. By this I mean that its manifest topics and persons have proceeded no great distance from their latent or instinctual sources. It is a question of congruence: the story fits its unconscious determinants like a glove.

This means that what often opposes the successful or convincing psychoanalysis of art is not encountered here. For sometimes the original instinctual and infantile sources are so heavily disguised and their force so successfully attenuated that only an act of intellectual violence—involving flagrant reductionism or leaden implausibilities—can re-establish the appropriate lost links. It is indeed with the critic and his reader as it is with the analyst and his patient: the patient’s conscious and reasonable ego cannot accept unconscious contents reached by a brutal frontal assault; these can only be arrived at and accepted when the defensive processes of the ego are analysed and ready to receive them. By analogy, the reader of psychoanalytic criticism cannot see violence done to the ego-like outer rind of the work of art—its surface images and situations—without rebelling in some measure against the blind instrument conducting the investigation. But this important issue of tact and plausibility is perhaps more easily handled with James’s famous “supernatural” text. For if displacements, condensations, and over-determinations abound in The Turn of the Screw, they are already clearly visible in the surface elements of the story and are not limited to the secret interplay of these elements with their hidden unconscious antecedents. The key ideas and feelings have not (that is) been banished to the periphery of the story, whose centre is thereby robbed of its instinctual charge and left blank and inscrutable to interpretation. In The Turn of the Screw James’s unconscious speaks directly and in the most distinct tones imaginable.

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Medium 9781855759381

CHAPTER THREE: Manifestations of Narcissism

Victoria Graham Fuller Karnac Books ePub

The behaviour and psychological states covered by the term “narcissism”, represent a spectrum of intensity and pathology. At one end lies the normal solipsism of infancy and early childhood and the self-absorption natural in bereavement. At the other extreme lies the loss of contact with external reality associated with psychosis, and the dangerous inability to empathise of the psychopathic personality. Between these two extremes lie the narcissistic disorders that are in some way disabling, but amenable to psychotherapeutic treatments.

Some clinicians have the view that narcissistic disorder should be considered as a dimension of psychopathology which cuts across all diagnostic categories. Richard Stolorow has offered a “functional” def nition as follows:

“Mental activity is narcissistic to the degree that its function is to maintain the structural cohesion, temporal stability, and positive affective colouring of the self representation.” (Stolorow, 1986, p.198)

If there is an assumption that narcissistic phenomena will be present to some degree in every case, the question then arises: what is the degree of narcissistic disturbance within this patient, and how disabling is it for them?

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Medium 9781855752375

4. Children who kill their teddy bears

Brett Kahr Karnac Books ePub

Valerie Sinason

“And they smiled so sweetly as they ate her dolls and bears she knew no toy could hold her”

Valerie Sinason, “The Re Naming”, 1982

In 1903, Rainer Maria Rilke, anticipating Donald Winnicott’s (1953a) paper on transitional objects by nearly fifty years, understood many of the emotional uses to which a toy, a “thing”, could be put in the service of the child’s developmental needs. In being the first not-me possession, it must survive loving and hating; it can be cuddled, attacked, and mutilated; it has to appear to have some life of its own, to not be an hallucination; it must be able to contain in its actuality the longings, needs, and projections of the child; and finally, it is neither forgotten nor mourned, but eventually loses meanings. It stands for the first relationship, largely that with the mother.

With loving, good-enough parenthood, the child can negotiate the ordinary painful difficulties of life and achieve the disillusionment that comes from having been allowed the state of illusion previously. The child can move from magical control to muscular control, and finally let go. The thumb, the corner of the blanket, the teddy bear, the doll, can all finally be put aside but not disappear. At times of adult difficulty, they can return as cigarettes, as drink, as executive toys, or even as transitional people. Where there are greater difficulties, they are transformed into fetishes where they continue their life in various forms of adult sexuality.

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