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Medium 9781780491158


Behrendt, Ralf-Peter Karnac Books ePub

The “instinct of combat”, or aggressive instinct, is “evoked by the behavior of any other creature that tends to thwart or obstruct him in the pursuit of any natural goal, that is, in the working out of any instinctive train of behavior” (McDougall, 1924, p. 140). The instinct of combat was thought to be unique in that “the key that opens its door is not a sense-expression or a sensory pattern of any kind, but rather any obstruction to the smooth progress toward its natural goal of any other instinctive striving” (pp. 140—141). Behavioural expression of the instinct of combat is accompanied by an emotional excitement of anger, rage, or fury (representing degrees of intensity) (McDougall, 1924). This instinct operates in two successive phases: the phase of threatening and the phase of attack. The most widely used behavioural expressions of the threatening phase are “sounds produced by the voice or other means” (McDougall, 1924, p. 141). Fear (including “timidity” and “terror”, representing fainter and more intense variations of fear) is the “characteristic emotional accompaniment” of the “instinct of escape”. A loud and sudden noise “is perhaps the most nearly universal key” to the “gates of fear”; others being “the sudden move of a large object”, certain odours of predators, and pain (McDougall, 1924, p. 152). Coevolution of instincts of aggression and escape may have ensured that expression of the former (threatening vocalisation) serves as the key to the latter (fearful reaction) in another individual. Escape is a two-phase instinct, comprising, first, “a running to shelter” and, second, “a lying hid when the shelter has been attained” (pp. 150— 151). For gregarious species, shelter may be represented by “the mass of the congregated herd” (McDougall, 1924, p. 151).

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Medium 9781855753624

CHAPTER TWO: Incest(s) and the negation of otherness

Karnac Books ePub

Juan Eduardo Tesone

Some papers condense knowledge of a problem in such an unconditional and impenetrable way that they leave no room for other ideas. The quality of Simona Argentieri’s text (in the preceding chapter) lies, I would say not only in its intertextual polysemy but also and above all in its interstices. In a very open way it allows several theories to circulate, suggests rather than concludes, and in this sense is extremely creative, evoking new reflections and encouraging us to use our capacity for reverie. Argentieri has managed to impart an aesthetic dimension to a text that none the less deals with an abject and ignominious theme. This is not because she embellishes it with arabesques, but because she turns a problem that is unspeakable and rarely thought about into something that can be expressed in words, thereby making it thinkable, and she gives clinical status to a problem that psychoanalytic theory hardly ever deals with. Psychoanalysts speak a great deal about the Oedipus complex and the prohibition of incest, but rarely of incest that has actually been carried out, perhaps echoing the paradoxical silence forced upon the child victim. In this sense, this symposium is highly relevant, given that it discusses issues about which, until recently, very little has been said, as if the foundations of psychoanalytic theory and the status of fantasy could be found wanting in the face of clinical work with real-life events.

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Medium 9781855754348

CHAPTER THREE: “Making time: killing time”

Karnac Books ePub

Paul Williams

“Since the beginning, mankind has been submerged in a sea of time”

(Hall, 1983)

We have become aware of the time-sea in which we live very slowly. The first recorded awareness of time came late in evolutionary terms, 35,000 years ago, when early modern man began burying the dead. Denotating the phases of the moon and the migration of birds, animals, and fish has always involved a temporal dimension. Recording the movements of the sun, moon, and planets and the passage of time became a basic human activity (ibid). Stonehenge and, later, clocks, were employed to keep a record of time. Clocks emerged in the thirteenth century as a response to the monasteries’ need for accurately kept services, the nocturnal office of matins being the catalyst.

Time as an external phenomenon—chronological time—is often contrasted theoretically with psychological or subjective time: behind this is the idea that there exist two or more different types of time. What if there are no different forms of time? What if time is a unitary, unifying phenomenon and a familiar dimension of our experienced surroundings that is distinct from the processes which occur in time (Gell, 1992, p. 315)? Like its offspring, history, time is everywhere and is mediated by cultural conditions and personal psychological factors. Might the world be a big clock, albeit one which different people read very differently (ibid., p. 96)?1 Or are there different forms of time? In this chapter I discuss different experiences of time and give three examples of time from patients in psychoanalysis; each experience reflecting a different psychic state.

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Medium 9780946439065


Bion, Wilfred R. Karnac Books ePub

IN the first chapter I said that the development of psycho-analytical practice was hindered through lack of work on the elements of psycho-analysis and gave examples of what might be objects of a search for such elements. In the second chapter I discussed criteria by which objects proposed as elements might be judged, stressing observability in practice as one essential. In the last chapter I laid down that all elements must be functions of the personality and that they should be conceived of as having dimensions which, in the mind of the analyst, would be sense-impressions, myth and passion.

In this chapter I propose to approach the problem afresh by seeking an answer to the following question: considering any psycho-analytical session as an emotional experience, what elements in it must be selected to make it clear that the experience had been a psycho-analysis and could have been nothing else?

Many features of a psycho-analysis may be regarded as typical but they are not exclusively so. Departures from the common rule of meetings between two people may seem insignificant, but the number of such apparently insignificant departures taken together ultimately amounts to a difference that decides the need for a special term. A catalogue of such difference is likely to establish what constitutes an imitation of psychoanalysis rather than what is genuine, unless the difference can be stated in elements.

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Medium 9781855757271

CHAPTER FOUR: Attachment issues

Delisle, Gilles Karnac Books ePub

The most important developmental issue involved in attachment is the establishment of the basis of our affective security, which forms the basis of the quality and the solidity of our engagement with others. When the attachment process is correctly negotiated, the capacity and the desire for contact and intimacy are installed in the infant. Interdependence then seems natural and it is accepted calmly. Those who have successfully mastered this developmental phase are better able to experience the reality of separations, without developing excessive abandonment anxiety. They are capable of being alone, without their solitude seeming to deprive them of creativity and productivity. The Other is not essentially a menace nor does he seem like the ultimate, perfectly secure refuge. The integrated representation that organizes the personality function could be expressed as follows:

“I am safe. The Other can care for me and protect me. My needs are natural, acceptable and tolerable.” The Other remains there and is able to respond. This basic security, the consequence of a good metabolization of the attachment process, can be observed in adults in love. In 1987, Hazan and Shaver demonstrated how one can find, in the romantic experience, the same types of attachment organization as in children.

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Medium 9781855750852


Ferenczi, Sandor Karnac Books ePub

THE deeper psycho-analysis penetrates into the knowledge of social-psychological productions (myths, fairy-tales, folk-lore) the stronger becomes the confirmation of the phylogenetic origin of symbols, which stand out in the mental life of every individual as a precipitate of the experiences of previous generations. Analysis has still to perform the task of separately investigating the phylogenesis and ontogenesis of symbolism, and then establishing their mutual relation. The classical formula of “Dai-mon kai Tyche” in Freud’s application (the cooperation of heredity and experience in the genesis of individual strivings) will finally become applied also to the genesis of the psychical contents of these strivings, and this also brings to the front the old dispute about “congenital ideas,” though now no longer in the form of empty speculations. We may already, however, anticipate to this extent, namely, that for the production of a symbol individual experiences are necessary as well as the congenital disposition, those providing the real material for the construction of the symbol, while the congenital basis preceding experience has perhaps only the value of an inherited, but not yet functioning mechanism.

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Medium 9781855758100

SCENE EIGHT. Barack Obama’s postpartisan dream: Leadership and the limits of the depressive position

Karnac Books ePub

Laurence J. Gould

As soon as I started covering Barack Obama,
I knew he was going to be in Trouble. …
He was going to be the kind of guy who whipped you up and then,
when you were all excited left you flat, and then, when you were deflated
and exasperated and time was running out, ensorcelled you again
with some sparkly fairy dust.

(Maureen Dowd, “Less Spocky, More Rocky”, The New York Times, September 9, 2009)

As a sceptical supporter of Barack Obama suggests above, she and many others are troubled by what they increasingly regard as a potentially serious limitation—namely, raising impossible expectations that he either cannot or will not meet. Variations on this sentiment could, by now, be multiplied a thousand fold, and taken together form the core of what has become a consistent popular narrative about Obama’s leadership. It is the purpose of this paper to recast this narrative in psychoanalytic terms. In this sense my aim is to contribute to the development of a general, psychoanalytically-informed theory of leadership capacities and personal requisites. As such, it is not about Obama’s leadership per se, as it is an exemplification, writ large, of the issues I wish to address, refracted through the prism of his struggles. Specifically, I attempt to articulate a conception of how he takes up the role of the presidency internally (the-role-in-the-mind), on both the conscious and unconscious level, how it is enacted, and how one may understand this, with particular reference to M. Klein’s theory (e.g., 1935, 1940, 1946) of developmental positions. Before proceeding, however, a few caveats are in order. I will then turn to filling out the popular narrative of Obama’s leadership, suggested by the opening quote. I will follow by providing a psychoanalytic transliteration, that explores the states of mind that I hypothesize animate this formulation, and conclude with some general considerations about leadership that can be extrapolated from it.

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Medium 9781782202714

Chapter Four: Winnicott's 1960 Expression, “The Theory of the Parent–Infant Relationship”

Miller, Ian Karnac Books ePub


In venturing forward from Winnicott 1949 to Winnicott 1960 within the PEP “best-seller” series, the reader turns momentarily from chronological advance to reflect on the journey. The overwhelming feeling is of hopeful affirmation, of enthusiastic moments that reshape the psychoanalytic enterprise; and of optimism in the resolution of that intermediate zone between internal and external worlds, the transitional, into creative engagement with reality. Yet, in reviewing the sections within each paper that build to Winnicott's concluding statements, the processes rather than the arrivals, the reader observes not linear argument but an intensity of focal points that are themselves transitional. Their effect is felt not so much as a sequential chain of events, but as a blur of images and concepts interrupted suddenly through Winnicott's periodic authoritative and concise interpretive assertions of clarity.

Attentive to the rhythms and pacing of these presentations, the reader senses the distinctive patterning of Winnicott's psychoanalytic expression: its indeterminate and transitory change mediated by the reliable, interpretive participations of the psychoanalyst. His descriptions cover a vast terrain from naturalistic, common-sense child observation to sophisticated analogies such as the similarity between a child's phenomenological experience of fingers touching a teddy bear and the transit between the abstract concepts of oral gratification and true object relatedness. Such leaps of conceptual level and category may elude immediate clarity and understanding by the reader. Yet, through Winnicott's insistence, they remain, if vaguely, within the orbit of the reader's registration. Having achieved this level of plausibility, however indistinct and disjointed they appear as conceptions, their provision as the transitional objects of Winnicott's composition is met by their acceptance as transitional objects of the reader's interest. Next, in the persuasive sequence between writing and reading, they achieve momentary cohesion both through their contextual location and through the mediation of Winnicott's periodic interpretive summaries.

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Medium 9781855756960

CHAPTER FIVE: Coaching and consulting to small businesses

Karnac Books ePub

Karol Szlichcinski and Ian Holder


Small enterprises of fewer than fifty people account for almost half of the employment (47%) and more than a third of the turnover (37%) in the UK (Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, 2007). There is huge potential for advisory services that help them perform more effectively.

Small businesses, in particular micro enterprises of fewer than ten people, typically share some common characteristics that stem from:

•  the individual psychology of their owners and managers, and their social psychology as small groups of people;

•  their interactions with their customers, suppliers, and other features of their environment;

•  the processes and technologies they implement to carry out their work.

These shared characteristics contribute to some common business issues and problems faced by many small businesses. In this chapterwe review the shared characteristics briefly, and identify some of the resulting issues. We then present three approaches to advising small businesses at key stages in their development that address these common issues. The approaches embody a mindful approach to consulting, albeit to varying degrees.

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Medium 9781782205944

Chapter Twelve - Reconciliation and Forgiveness

Gorell Barnes, Gill Karnac Books ePub

Some children who have been estranged from their fathers earlier in their growing up have sought reconciliations with them once they have arrived at young adulthood and achieved some independence in their own lives. This last chapter provides a reflection on how a father's acute difficulties and separation from his children, however severe this has been at times in their lives, might remain possible to reconcile. It seems that if a father has tried to “do his best” for his children and they have sensed both love and a wish for their presence in his life, much can be forgiven, even where erratic care and irresponsible behaviour formed a large part of their childhood experience. Sometimes, fathers who feel sadness about harm they have done, or who have been absent or neglectful for periods of their children's development, also look for reparative conversations.

One of the difficulties in implementing family group processes constructed around exploring and possibly reconciling harmful processes from the past between fathers and children is that the same mental phenomena that predisposed to neglectful behaviour in the past might well remain in play in the father's makeup. Unkind aspects of his inner working model of relationships can still be triggered in the context of a family meeting, even though his children are now grown up. The holding context of a young adult group, with its own strengths, observations, and insights, is, however, different to that of childhood, so that a father's behaviour can usually be managed in a different way within it. Exploring levels of emotion, both past and present, can be valuable as long as the therapist is fully aware that anger, stored within the minds of different individuals, is not something safely relegated to childhood. Negative narratives about events where antipathy, neglect, or active unkindness have been a prominent experience in the family retain their power. The therapist needs to stay alert to manage boundaries safely if called upon to do so. In similar ways, however, the positive qualities of a father who has “offended” his children will also be present in the room, so danger co-exists side by side with warmth and hope. An optimism about the value of reconciliation has usually moved me in the direction of facilitating such meetings when the wish comes from a young person, now more mature, who wishes to make further attempts at sorting things out with a parent.

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Medium 9781782204671

12. Imagining Undreamt and Scattered Selves

Harris Meltzer Trust ePub

Ashis Roy

Dreaming offers a potential that awakens in the analyst the ability to sense unknown, dismembered, or unformed parts of the patient's self. First impressions and reveries, emanating from the therapist's subjective state provide a lasting vision of the patient. The patient may not have been received through this before. Analysts dream the becoming of the analysand. Many individuals are deprived of caregivers who could have dreamt them. Being ‘dreamt’ in the mind of another has an ongoing potential captured in Winnicott's words ‘going on being’. This dream goes beyond the struggle and the fragmentation which is wrecking the self. Winnicott alerts us to impinging forces and to the creation of the ‘false self’. His work sees the process of dreaming as one in which the psyche is freed of impositions and is allowed a potential space of sustained creative unknowingness. Counterdreaming may be a sustained imaginative entering of the other person's soul. In this paper I illustrate through two vignettes the re-appearance of undreamt pieces of the psyche waiting to be dreamt for psychological use and a situation of dreaming a fragmented self.

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Medium 9781855756410

59. Huan / Dispersion

Jones, Peggy Karnac Books ePub

above Sun / The Gentle, The Penetrating, Wind, Wood

below Kan / The Abysmal, Water

above Kên / Keeping Still, Mountain

below Chên / The Arousing, Thunder

Huan / Dispersion pictures a warm wind blowing over frozen water - ice - causing it to thaw and break up. It suggests the possibility of deep blockages or ‘frozen’ states being liberated as they are touched and freed by a new understanding. Looked at from a slightly different perspective, something that should be flowing has become rigid and needs to be approached with gentle curiosity rather than sharp-edged determination or suspicion. Such an open and accepting attitude disperses the ‘ice’ of fear or anger. Life is continually moving, flowing into different forms that require different responses from us. If we are tight and contracted we cannot move with Life, experiencing its many faces and expanding our own horizons and abilities; instead we are rolled up around ourselves like a frightened creature, unable to see or hear or participate in life.

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Medium 9781855752832

CHAPTER SEVEN. Killing time: work with refugees

Karnac Books ePub

Valerie Sinason

“Oh earth, cover not thou my blood and let my cry have no resting place”

The Bible, Job v. 16-18

“You tell me that if I leave this country
I can return
Again and again

The angry sea of customs and immigration
Will open up for me

And I will pass through
As effortlessly as a ghost through barbed wire”

“For the Stateless Person Getting a Passport”. Sinason, 1987

General thoughts and introduction

I am writing this as the grandchild of refugees who came to the East End of London from the pogroms of East Europe. I am also writing this as a teacher, child psychotherapist and adult psychoanalyst who has worked extensively with those living on the edge of mainstream recognition and services and who brings their experiences into public knowledge. That in itself is one of the reparative consequences of such generational transmission.

There were dynamics I most knew and noted from this history and recognized in people coming for help. Firstly, was the longing to be rooted in one place and one country and never to leave an assumed safe place. This would evoke fear of abandonment and catastrophe or rather re-facing in the present the past catastrophe. The fear of moving and letting go could also apply to belongings. Those who had experienced enormous poverty and hunger preferred to keep food, clothes, and other belongings long past their sell-by date for fear of there being nothing. Spending money could evoke a crisis of existential danger. All household items, such as string, bags, could be held onto as possible lifesavers in difficult times to come. Simplistic ideas of anal retentiveness or obsessional compulsive behaviour transposed to such behaviour, live in a different world to that of the reality of extreme starvation and other trauma. Secondly, was the opposite, the fear of staying when staying was equated with being annihilated. This led to a wandering life.

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Medium 9780715621707

4. At Every Moment the World Creates Itself a New

Eric Rhode Eric Rhode Ebook ePub

Two's company, three's a crowd. The shock of the mutative is the shock of a third factor – new baby, new idea – breaking in on the security of the self as feeding infant. It leaves the infant within me in states of extreme perturbation: either I will choke or I will continue to breathe and to develop. Breuer is almost wiped out by states of confusion when he comes close to Anna; but enduring the experience leads to discoveries. In Hamlet, and in the slightly later writings of Descartes, mutative anxieties are described against the background of infinite space. It is as though Anna's domestic theatre were to be given a cosmic setting. The man at the funeral, the possible dissembler, transformed, re-appears as the Ghost of Hamlet's father and as the fictive tempter at the end of the first Meditation, who places Descartes's narrator in a condition of doubt.

Hamlet suffers from bad dreams. He does not report the content of his dreams – merely that they are bad. ‘Oh God, I could be bounded in a nut-shell, and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams.’ (Hamlet 2.2. 257-9). They sound claustrophobic, uterine, as though the prince thought himself an ancient Greek, climbing into some incubatory place in order to dream. A nut-shell would be infinitely preferable. His step-father, the King, sees his brooding as incubatory. ‘There's something in his soul / O'er which his melancholy sits on brood; and I do doubt the hatch and the'disclose / Will be some danger’ (Ibid. 3.1.167-9). An incubus is a nightmare in which a devil presses down on you. To incubate means both to press down and to hatch – to procreate and give birth at the same time, often to bad issue. A blocked abdomen can induce nightmare if we think of the blockage as a failure in mental digestion. The prince is pregnant with thoughts (often foul). His girlishness is hysteric. He would like to get rid of his femininity. I surmise that he he would like to put it into Ophelia in the form of a being abandoned, of going mad, of drowning: one reason why, in a despairing fashion, he is so cruel to her. (Sarah Bernhardt was to impersonate the prince and Lafargue to write poems celebrating his feminine grace, at the time Breuer was seeing Anna.)

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Medium 9781782200437

Chapter Two - Trauma as a Source of Pathology

De Masi, Franco Karnac Books ePub

“'Eternal rehabilitation from a trauma of unknown nature': where did the beautiful title of your book come from?”

Andrea Zanzotto: “I was referring to the concept of life in the broadest sense”

(Zanzotto, 2007, p. 16, translated for this edition)

In psychoanalysis, the concept of trauma has had a chequered history, both in terms of its definition and of the importance attributed to it as a cause of illness in adults. In the past, a single, unexpected, and violent event was considered traumatic. After Khan (1963) introduced the concept of cumulative trauma, psychoanalysts also turned their attention to the pathogenic elements involved in the distortion of the mother–child emotional relationship. In the case of difficult patients, many events, even if they are not particularly violent, are considered sources of future pathology because they cause a violation of the child's psychic apparatus.

The extent to which trauma effects the development of psychopathology is a controversial subject. Some analysts, in fact, seem to believe that the suffering afflicting patients stems from their imaginary life rather than from their “real” life. While discussing the uncertainty reigning in psychoanalytical circles about this point, Bollas (1995, p. 103) writes,

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