Friday, December 30, 2011

Verena Kast on the Clinical Use of Fairytales

"As an analyst who is convinced that the process of individuation is a most valuable theory (Jung, 1934b; Kast, 1992), I use fairy tales in my practice of therapy. This entails working with the tensions between the ego-complex and the personal and collective unconscious on one side and between the ego complex and the collective consciousness (roles, spirit of the times, current ideologies…) on another, and with the interactions between the collective unconscious and the collective conscious. This work occurs in the frame of an analytical relationship, in which transference/countertransference, the perception of symbols, and the formation of new symbols are of great importance. The therapy aims toward the constant restructuring of the identity of the analysand-more and more in accordance with him-or herself-and should be a most dynamic process, intending the development of the analysand toward more creativity in order to deal with life, to find meaning and some understanding of one's own life-in short to become more and more what he or she could be, to become more and more authentic. And that means becoming closer to emotions and intuitions and at the same time being more able to deal with them. Fairy tales are, at least in Europe, favorite stories of our childhood. Structurally, fairy tales begin with a typically problematic situation which can be easily transfered to everyday problems. Then they show how the situation might be dealt with by describing processes that have to be suffered through. A path of growth emerges that leads through and out of the problem that was described at the outset. The fairy tale's protagonist symbolizes a certain attitude in the face of a problematic situation. The fairy tale addresses universal human issues by means of the protagonist, whose difficulties, trials, and adventures can be compared with our own.

The fairy tale speaks to us in symbols and images. The symbol mixes experiences, psychic contents, and, especially, emotions into a sum total that can not be represented in any other form. Thus Bloch (1986) calls symbols "categories of condensation." Although we never give up trying to understand and to interpret symbols, each attempt can only bring a partial aspect to consciousness. The symbol has a surplus of meaning; it is "overdetermined." It reveals and opens up perspectives that gradually unfold before our eyes and stimulate our fantasy. In therapy there is an attempt to create an environment in which the tale can speak to us at the level of the imagination. Many of our inner images have become hardened and stereotyped. When they are softened in a therapeutic environment and become accessible to the imput of the fairy tale, there is a chance that our prejudices and fixations may stand some alteration. Maybe the power of fantasy can even be revived. Through the funnel of the inner image, the fairy tale can have a huge impact on the chemistry of our emotional transformations. Thus, listening to a fairy tale already has a therapeutic effect; if we are receptive, the story's images "work on us." Granted some motifs may strike us with greater immediate relevance than others. Those motifs that speak to us are quickly taken possession of. We become their proud and jealous owners because they seem to express the way we feel in a way that nothing else can substitute for. Unlike some feelings, the image is something that we can look at. In some respects, it is "my" image, but again it is triggered by a source outside myself-the fairy tale. This paradox often provides us with the closeness and, at the same time, the distance that is necessary to deal with the problem expressed in the image. The images in the fairy tales are in addition part of a narrative structure which draws a conflict to a creative solution. Therapeutic work with fairy tales refers and is dependent on this narrative process. We take our own images-evoked by the tale-and "enter" them into a developmental "program" that is encoded with the hope, characteristic of fairy tales, that difficulties can be overcome. According to Bloch, every living symbol-every symbol that speaks to us-contains the "hope that is encapsulated in the archetype" (1959, p. 187). Surely therapy should be about the business of making this power of the human psyche available."
(pp. 509-510)

"A symbolic process, such as expressed in a fairy tale, can take on the function of a transitional object in the sense of Winnicott (1986). The storehouse of the archetypal symbols experienced in fairy tales can be seen as a collective motherground, from which the personal symbols can be evoked in the psyche of the singular person with the goal of better overcoming all kind of anxieties and of becoming more creative. I see the supporting elements of the collective unconscious, which become accessible to us in fairy tales, in myths, in parts of stories or poems, addressing in slightly different manners the same topic. And they offer something we can provide to others so that the problem might be reworked. This, in turn, also has an effect on the structure of the ego-and thus of the creativity and the competence in dealing with everyday life. Only rarely do we copy the solution offered by the inner image. Fairy tales spark imaginative processes that are unique to each individual, alter deeply entrenched feelings, and accompany us in the practical business of restructuring our daily lives.

I like to see all the stories we human beings (and our culture in general) have collected as a transitional space, as the reservoir of the collected creativity of all human beings in the past and in the present. The more the used symbols are reformulations of archetypal structures and dynamics-of very basic structures and dynamics-the more they seem to trigger the personal fantasy and the fantasy of survival, the more it helps to work on actual and repressed problems, in a way that we don't get stuck in the past and in a way that life becomes more meaningful."
(pp. 522-523).

Verena Kast (1996). The Clinical Use of Fairy Tales by a "Classical" Jungian Analyst. Psychoanalytic Review, Vol. 83, pp. 509-523.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Otto Kernberg on Ego Psychology and Object Relations Theory

"Because the term object relations theory has been used by different authors in varying contexts and within a wide spectrum of approaches to psychoanalytic theory and technique, I think it may be helpful to start out with my own brief definition.

As I have stated elsewhere (1976a), I conceive of psychoanalytic object relations theory as a special approach or focus within psychoanalysis that examines metapsychological and clinical issues in terms of the vicissitudes of internalized object relations. Object relations theory considers the psychic apparatus as originating in the earliest stage of a process of internalization of object relations. This process covers, roughly speaking, the first three years of life — and results in the formation of substructures of the psychic apparatus that will gradually differentiate. The stages of development of internalized object relations — that is, the stages of infantile autism, symbiosis, separation-individuation, and of object constancy — reflect the vicissitudes of these earliest substructures of the psychic apparatus. Discrete units of self-representation, object representation, and an affect disposition linking them are the basic oject-relations-derived substructures that gradually evolve into more complex substructures (such as real-self and ideal-self, and real-object and ideal-object representations). Eventually, they will become integrated as intrapsychic structures in the ego, superego, and id.

Underlying this conception is an assumption common to Jacobson (1964), (1971); Mahler (Mahler and Furer, 1968); (Mahler et al., 1975); and myself, namely, that the earliest internalization processes have dyadic features, that is, a self-object polarity — even when self- and object representations are not yet differentiated; by the same token, all subsequent developmental steps also imply the presence of dyadic internalizations, that is, internalization of an object not only as object representation but as an interaction of the self with the object, so that units of self- and object representations (and the affect dispositions — the clinical manifestations of a drive derivative — linking them) are the basic building blocks for later internalized object and self-representations and, still later on, of the overall tripartite structure (ego, superego, and id).

Object relations theory, as defined, based upon Jacobson's, Mahler's, and my own work, is in contrast to the British school of psychoanalysis in that it integrates contemporary ego-psychological approaches with structural development, avoids telescoping intrapsychic development into the first year of life, assumes a more complex and gradual development of both ego and superego than the British school, and considers the relationships between early development, intrapsychic genetics, and structure formation as complex, indirect, and not immediately available in the early stages of psychoanalytic exploration. Hence, the object relations approach I have outlined is closer to Fairbairn (1952), (1963), Balint (1965), (1968), and Winnicott (1958), (1965), than to Melanie Klein (1940), (1945), (1946), (1957) and Bion (1967). However, the neglect of instinctual development in Fairbairn is sharply contrary to my approach.

In contrast to what might be considered an object-relations approach of Sullivan (1953) and his followers, object relations theory as outlined here has to do not only with interpersonal object relations, but is predominantly a metapsychological approach — an attempt to account for normal and pathological development in terms of the structures comprising the psychic apparatus. Finally, my definition is compatible with the developmental thinking of Erikson (1956), (1959), (1963), although not with his emphasis on adolescence as opposed to earlier stages of identity formation. It is also related to Lichtenstein's (1977) and Loewald's (1978) recent formulations.

Psychoanalytic object relations theory as defined is an integral part of contemporary ego psychology. It is not an additional metapsychological viewpoint nor does it conflict with the structural, developmental-genetic, dynamic, economic, and adaptive viewpoints; rather, it represents a refinement of the structural viewpoint that links structure more closely with developmental, genetic, and dynamic aspects of mental functioning; further, it occupies an intermediary realm between psychoanalytic metapsychology, on the one hand, and direct clinical formulations in the psychoanalytic situation, on the other."
(pp. 207-209)

Otto Kernberg (1979). Some Implications Of Object Relations Theory For Psychoanalytic Technique. Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, Vol. 27S, pp. 207-239

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Richard Kradin on the Symbolic Aspects of the Psychosomatic Patient

"Invariably, at the root of psychosomatic dis-ease, one discovers an ailing soul that requires attention and renewed meaning. With time and the containment provided within the therapeutic vessel, affective connections may be re-established between the ego and the Self. In such cases, the psychosomatic symptom may gradually transform or disappear spontaneously, just as it first appeared.

It has been argued that the psychosomatic patient has suffered a profound disturbance in the pathways of individuation. Psychosomatic integration has failed to occur and the ego-Self axis has been seriously interrupted. Whereas the psychosomatic symptom represents pathology, one might ask what synthetic purpose does it serve? I suggest that the psychosomatic symptom can be envisioned as an imaginal product of the Self — defined here after Jung with slight modification — as the totality of those psychosomatic processes that are responsible for generating, integrating, and directing the imaginings of the individual through the life cycle (Jung 1963). The psychosomatic symptom is hypothesized to be a derivative iteration of a ‘Self-state’. It is suggested that the psychosomatic symptom has the properties of fractals, that is they are self-similar iterations of form. Fractal forms permeate nature, and are readily identifiable, e.g. in the repetitive branching of trees, river beds, the vascular system and the neural networks of the brain (Bassingthwaighte 1994). As fractals are isomorphic, that is ‘self-similar’ with their source, both in form and function, the psychosomatic symptom necessarily displays the complexity of the Self. Such unfathomable complexity confers upon the psychosomatic symptom features of being both symbolic and paradoxical, so that no single meaning, or multideterminant set of meanings, can exhaust its possibilities. Like other hypothesized derivatives of the Self, including the fractal dream image, the psychosomatic symptom is informationally rich, both with respect to ego consciousness and the inter-subjective field. For example, Mary's symptoms focused my attention on her early narcissistic disturbance, reflected the poles of her mother and father complexes, and revealed her need to create meaning for her disengaged psychosomatic experience. In this way, I believe that her ‘Self-state’ was accurately communicated. Grasping the symbolic nature of the psychosomatic symptom is critical; and the failure to do so has led many to lose their way in its labyrinthine expressions. Freud barely escaped this fate, as he arduously quested after the specific cause of his patient's hysterical symptoms, only to find that uprooting one led eventually to the appearance of another. For like his beloved Oedipus, who attempted to save Thebes by an exercise of Apollonian logic (Hillman 1991), Freud had mistaken the source of the dis-ease and had confused the multifaceted metaphor of the ‘oracular’ symptom with a ‘sleight of hand’ concocted by a defensive psyche to disguise an unacceptable wish. Indeed, a major change in the direction of psychoanalysis may have been prompted by Freud's discovery that the eradication of the hysterical patient's symptoms was actually short-lived (Webster 1995).

As a fractal derivative of the Self, the purpose of the psychosomatic symptom must reflect the overarching purpose of the Self, which is to direct the process of individuation. I am suggesting that the psychosomatic symptom represents a persistent homeostatic effort by the Self to correct a developmental defect in psychosomatic experience. By focusing the attention of others on the dysphoric experiences of the body, the psychosomatic symptom urgently seeks to elicit empathy and psychological meaning for the disordered experience of interiority. Only when this has been achieved can the individuation process optimally proceed. Unfortunately, this persistent effort is often viewed within the intersubjective field as age inappropriate, and therefore fails to succeed. This must be especially true in a social milieu that is itself characterized by profound psychosomatic splitting and insufficient empathic resources. For these reasons, the issues of the psychosomatic patient are perhaps best treated in analysis, although theoretically any sufficiently empathic intersubjective dialogue could also suffice. However, it must be reiterated that these patients are notoriously difficult to treat, as they require a degree of psychosomatic empathy that may be near impossible to achieve within the boundaries imposed upon the analytical frame.

While the psychosomatic symptom cries to be relieved, it cannot be fixed. Its irrational nature can only be resonated with empathically. Unfortunately, the presence of those time-honoured guardians of irrational therapeutic approaches in modern society are dwindling. The therapeutic mainstream of our society no longer includes shamans and spiritual healers, and scientific progress also threatens the depth psychologists with extinction, as they are replaced by the behavioural and biologically oriented ‘scientists’ of the mind. However, it is clear that the psychosomatic symptom is an archetypal product of psyche, one that may change its ‘spots’ but not its nature. Therefore, the psychosomatic patient will continue to be a constant feature in society and each generation will be required to develop its own variant of the perennial therapeutic solution."
(pp. 418-419)

Richard Kradin (1997). The psychosomatic symptom and the self. Journal of Analytical Psychology, Vol. 42, pp. 405-423

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Sanchez-Cardenas on Analytic Pluralism and Matte Blanco

Abstract: "It can be seen that, although psychoanalytic pluralism is widespread, there is still a spirit of intolerance among the different theoretical schools. Matte Blanco’s work allows us to think about these questions in a fresh way. Direct psychic experience, felt to be an indivisible whole, is characterized by the symmetrical mode (close to the unconscious) and projects itself in a multiple and decondensed manner on to the asymmetrical mode (consciousness, thought). Thus, psychical facts (for example, what the patient says and feels during the session) can be accounted for by multiple conscious representations which, however, are not mutually contradictory (e.g. in different theoretical approaches). Affective factors linked to the hope of reviving ‘oceanic feelings’ of fusion with a unified and unifying theory of the subject–analyst are also explored insofar as they lead to the tendency of analysts to exclude one another."

Conclusion: "Matte Blanco also helps us to see why pluralism poses a problem for the analyst from an affective point of view. We cling to our theories for several reasons (Poland, 2009): the narcissistic investment that we make in them, the pseudo-intellectual mastery that they seem to offer, and the group adhesion that they permit. Matte Blanco allows us to add an additional perspective. If, for the mind, the possibility of having an emotional life and the sense of feeling that we exist are rooted in the symmetrical mode (that of Feeling and Being), it is understandable that maintaining contact with it is essential. There exists a ‘‘desire for the invisible mode’’ (Matte Blanco, 1988, p. 218), to which pluralism runs directly contrary since it supposes by definition a dissection into distinct elements. This desire is based, says Matte Blanco (1975b) in his text, Creativit ed ortodossia [Creativity and orthodoxy], on nostalgia for the time when the baby experienced himself as being one with his mother. There is thus a desire to return to this ‘unitary’ state before the frustrating separation which underlies subject–object distinction and individuation. The fantasy of being able to find a single epistemology accounting for the whole of the mind echoes that of being able to communicate once again with the mythical lost Breast. Melanie Klein (1957, p. 46) has shown that the breast was the prototype of the infinite goodness of the mother and of all creation. This ‘‘unitary’’ desire can be satisfied by ‘‘one’’ single elected theory, by belonging to ‘‘just one group’’. I proposed above that the attempts of psychoanalysts to situate themselves in the Thinking mode made them nostalgic for their Feeling and Being mode. So they have to find a strategy to get around this risk: this may involve cultivating a universal breast-theory. Furthermore, Matte Blanco develops the idea that, once separation from the mother has occurred, the subject has only one choice: either to merge with the lost breast (and so lose once again his individuation, which is intolerable), or to kill the breast and become the breast himself (eliminating the frustrating breast and turning oneself into an absolutely self-sufficient breast). This is the dilemma of the creative person: in having become a creator by attributing to himself the powers of the breast, and by murdering the latter, he has carried out a ‘self-breastification–self-deification’ by means of a ‘breasticide–deicide’ which goes with it. Hence the extreme attitudes when faced with a new creation which is felt to be like the murder of Gods whose breast theories were hitherto venerated. These questions directly concern the reactions of analysts to epistemologies. Very often, they approach them as if they were referring to absolute divinities (psychoanalysis according to Saint Freud, Saint Melanie, Saint Winnicott or Saint Matte Blanco …) and every innovator–protester is regarded as the perpetrator of a deicide who must be silenced (before he himself, eventually, is deified in turn). These affective factors torture psychoanalysts and regularly lead to major crises. They should be identified and explored at the beginning of every analyst’s training process. This would help analysts, knowing from the outset that the unity of psychoanalysis can only be founded on its diversity, not feeling torn apart by contact with theories as different as those that we are faced with and, eventually, avoiding many useless anathemas."

Michel Sanchez-Cardenas (2011) Matte Blanco’s Thought and Epistemological Pluralism in Psychoanalysis, Internaltional Journal of Psychoanalysis, Vol. 92, pp. 811–831

Friday, December 16, 2011

Barbara Stevens - Alchemy and Jung's Model of Transference-Countertransference

"In that spirit, I would like to offer this paper, describing the essence of Jung's particular view of the transference-countertransference experience along with an example of its clinical application. Since each tradition offers something of value to depth psychology, it is not a question of which school is "right", but rather a question of what particular vantage point each school comes from, which piece of the work can be seen most clearly and deeply from which tradition.

Jung's core contribution was his description of the archetypal layer of the psyche, and his description of the transference bond centers on its archetypal dimension. His major work on this subject, "The Psychology of the Transference, " is an extremely difficult work. He notes in the foreword that it "will not be easy reading for those who do not possess some knowledge of my earlier works" (Jung, 1946, 1954, p. 165). In fact, unless the reader has done considerable reading in his alchemical texts, much of the work will probably be incomprehensible. Few analysts outside the Jungian world have been interested in devoting the kind of time that that kind of study requires, and Jung's writings in this area has consequently remained obscure. Among other things, it is my hope that this paper will make them more accessible to the larger psychoanalytic community.

The psychoanalytic literature on transference and countertransference is powerfully relevant to Jungians as we try to flesh out our knowledge of the personal layers of the transference-countertransference bond (Fordham, 1979). Jung himself was clear in acknowledging the validity of Freud's description of the transference neurosis within which the patient repeats with the therapist the undigested patterns of his injurious childhood relationships (Jung, 1946, p. 171, note 15). Jung, like Freud, saw the transference as the core of the therapeutic work. He is clear in saying repeatedly that "almost all cases requiring lengthy treatment gravitate round … the transference, and … the success or failure of the treatment appears to be bound up with it in a very fundamental way" (Jung, 1946, p. 164).

Beyond the personal transference, where the patient's infantile wounds are re-enacted, lies an archetypal level. What is meant by this is that there is a universal pattern the transference-countertransference experience ordinarily describes, the details of which the individual's particular history colors in. While focusing on this universal layer of the transference, I want to emphasize that this perspective is in no way a substitute for an understanding of the personal transference. The way that a particular person navigates this universal experience is always important clinically. The two layers, personal and archetypal, develop and exist together. Optimal therapeutic work requires that both be attended to.

In order to grasp a rough outline of the archetypal dimension of the analytic encounter, we need to get some sense of the meaning of Jung's alchemical work. Although the medieval alchemists were trying to transform base metals into gold, their writing makes clear that something much less straightforward was also taking place. A typical alchemical recipe might tell the worker to mix the menstrum of a whore with the fiery spirit of Mars; take this mixture, the instructions might continue, and bury it in the deepest, darkest sea until it becomes dry, and by dessication sandy and black. These kinds of peculiar instructions have no possible concrete relevance. We have no way of knowing what percentage of the alchemists might have guessed that their work was psychological rather than logical. Without our modern psychological concepts, they certainly could not explain what they were doing, but some of them probably suspected the base substances they were trying to transform were aspects of their own selves. The alchemist was projecting his unconscious onto the matter he was working with in his lab, seeing his own inner growth process in the various changes and developments the substances in his beaker were going through. The result was alchemy's fantastical, complex imagery.

It was Jung's particular insight to recognize that alchemical imagery was a metaphorical description of the same phenomena that psychologists try to discuss cognitively. Like the modern analysand, the medieval alchemist was trying, probably unconsciously, to heal his injured psyche. The despised and rejected elements of his soul—what Freudians would call his repressed unconscious, and Jungians his shadow, and what an alchemist or a contemporary dreamer might image as "the menstrum of a whore"—these unconscious elements were to be redeemed, "changed into gold." Alchemical recipes can be seen as therapeutic formulae, descriptions of how to change the psyche and of how the psyche changes. Alchemy's shocking and arresting imagery may reflect simply psychotic hallucinations, or its symbolic significance may have been grasped in some inarticulate fashion, at least by some workers. But in either case, its value for us remains the same: Alchemical imagery captures the archetypal experience of psychological development. It is a symbolic system which was never organized in any orthodox fashion the way a religion is organized, and it stays much closer to the immediate individual experience of growth than a more coherent mythic system does. Today, we can use their imagery as a metaphorical guide to the unchanging ways human beings develop.

Jung took a series of ten alchemical pictures as the basis for his description of the development of the transference bond. These engravings by medieval alchemists depict their emotional experience as they immersed themselves in the study of the imagery their unconscious was producing and projecting. Their work—their dedicated focus on the products of their psyches—exactly parallels a contemporary patient's work, his immersion in the products of his psyche. This alchemical imagery captures the modern patient's emotional experience of deep therapeutic work with remarkable potency."
(pp. 185-188)

Barbara Stevens (1986). A Jungian Perspective on Transference and Countertransference. Contemporary Psychoanalysis, Vol. 22, pp. 185-200

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Fred Pine - Working with Four Psychologies

The concepts which Dr. Pine outlines in this paper were developed into a book - Drive, Ego, Object and Self: A Synthesis for Clinical Work (1990, Basic Books):

"Psychoanalysis has produced what I shall refer to as "four psychologies"—the psychologies of drive, ego, object relations, and self. Each takes a somewhat different perspective on human psychological functioning, emphasizing somewhat different phenomena. While the four certainly overlap, each adds something new to our theoretical understanding, and each has significant relevance in the clinical situation. My aim in this paper is to highlight that relevance. Earlier (Pine, 1985) I attempted to give a developmental integration of the four psychologies, a picture of how each may find its place in the psychology of the individual during the course of development....

From the standpoint of the psychology of drive, the individual is seen in terms of the vicissitudes of, and struggles with, lasting urges, forged in the crucible of early bodily and family experience, and taking shape as wishes that are embodied in actions and in conscious and unconscious fantasies. Because many of these wishes come to be experienced as unacceptable and dangerous, psychic life is seen as organized around conflict and its resolution—signified by anxiety, guilt, aspects of shame, inhibition, symptom formation, and pathological character traits. In Freud's original work, the theoretical underpinnings of these ideas lay in views of instinctual drive and epigenetically unfolding psychosexual stages. But at the experiential level of human functioning, the focus is on wish and urge, defense against them, and conflict (cf. Holt, 1976); (Klein, 1976).

From the standpoint of the psychology of the ego, the individual is seen in terms of capacities for adaptation, reality testing, and defense, and their use in the clinical situation and in life at large to deal with the inner world of urges, affects, and fantasies, and the outer world of reality demands. Developmentally, the capacities for adaptation, reality testing, and defense are seen as slowly attained and expanding over time. While historically the major ego concepts developed as an outgrowth of drive-conflict psychology and remain intimately tied to it via conceptions of defense against drive, Hartmann's work (1939) introduced a significant emphasis on adaptation to the average expectable environment, as well. A developmental conception of ego functioning allows also for significant emphasis on a concept of "ego defect." That is, since adults (and older children) have capacities for adaptation, reality testing, and defense that infants do not have, we have to assume that these developed in between. Anything that develops can develop poorly or in aberrant ways; developmental failures in the domain of adaptive capacities can be viewed as "ego defects," e.g., affect intolerance and flooding, unreliable delay and control over impulses, failure to obtain object constancy. Such "defects" are not unrelated to conflict; conflict may have been contributory to their going wrong developmentally, and they will in any case enter into the individual's fantasy life and self-experience, and hence become elements in conflict and take on multiple functions (Waelder, 1930). But I believe they can also usefully (from a working clinical standpoint) be seen as defects — adaptational incapacities or faulted capacities.

From the standpoint of the psychology of object relations, the individual is seen in terms of an internal drama, derived from early childhood, that is carried around within as memory (conscious or unconscious) and in which the individual enacts one or more or all of the roles (Sandler & Rosenblatt, 1962). These internal images, loosely based on childhood experiences, also put their stamp on new experience, so that these in turn are assimilated to the old dramas rather than experienced fully in their contemporary form. These internal dramas are understood to be formed out of experiences with the primary objects of childhood, but are not seen as veridical representations of those relationships. The object relation as experienced by the child is what is laid down in memory and repeated, and this experience is a function of the affect and wishes active in the child at the moment of the experience. Thus, illustratively and hypothetically, the "same" quietly pensive and inactive mother will be experienced as a depriver by the hungry child, but perhaps as comfortingly "in tune" by the child who is itself contentedly playing alone. Significant for the clinical relevance of object-relations psychology is the tendency to repeat these old family dramas, a repetition propelled by efforts after attachment or after mastery or both.

From the standpoint of the psychology of self-experience, the individual is seen in terms of the ongoing subjective state, particularly around issues of boundaries, continuity, and esteem, and his or her reactions to imbalances in that subjective state (Sandler, 1960). I deliberately refer to "self-experience" rather than "the self" not only to bypass problems of conceptualization and reification regarding "the self," but also to remain at the level of subjective experience. But notably, the domain of "self" in the current literature is organized not only around subjective state per se, but around particular features of that subjective state. Thus, degree of differentiation of self from other has a central place, and here I refer to the sense of separateness, of boundaries (Mahler, Pine & Bergman, 1975); (Pine, 1979), or contrariwise, of loss or absence of boundaries. Additionally, stemming from Kohut's work (1977), the degree of wholeness/fragmentation, continuity/discontinuity, or esteem of the self is also seen as central. It is doubtless no accident that both of these areas have to do with the relation of self to other, whether via differentiation from the "dual-unity" (Mahler, 1972), or the contemporary selfobject serving functions for the self (Kohut, 1977), or the actual historical (mirroring and idealforming) functions served by the parent for the child. These all have the ring of connection to those early stages in the development of the self that Stern (1985) refers to as "self with other." And they remind us of Spitz's (1957) earlier description of the development of the "I" inherently in relation to the "non-I" and, later, of the self in relation to the object. Thus, what I shall work with as the domain of the psychology of self-experience is subjective experience specifically around feelings of self-definition in relation to the object."
(pp. 571-574) 

Fred Pine (1988). The Four Psychologies of Psychoanalysis and their Place in Clinical Work. Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. Vol. 36, pp. 571-596.

Friday, December 9, 2011

William Goodheart - Theory of Analytic Interaction

In a unique work of analytic integration William Goodheart draws inspiration from the work of Harold Searles and Robert Langs (see the Muse post immediately below) in order to outline a model of analytic interaction by reinterpreting the concepts of Searles and Langs through the theoretical constructs of Analytical Psychology:

Persona Restoring Field (corresponds to Robert Langs Type C Field - Harold Searles 'Out of Contact" Field): "I conceptualize this field as the patient's use of the persona in a defensive manner in order to withdaw from any meaningful or revealing contact with either the analyst or his own inner life. This field may occur fleetingly or become relatively permanent." (p. 4)

Complex Discharging Field (corresponds to Robert Langs Type B Field - Harold Searles 'Pathological Symbiosis'): "In this interactional field, mutually shared unconscious complexes that are present in both analyst and patient are activated. This activation quickly produces what Searles calls the 'pathological symbiosis.'... Each will pressure the other to unconsciously accept - introject - something about himself, pushing for changes in overt behavior or in the therapeutic container." (pp. 5-8)

Secured-Symbolizing Field (corresponds to Robert Langs Type A Field - Harold Searles 'Therapeutic Symbiosis'): "This interactional field is familiar territory to Jungians, for it is the field in which the processes of symbolic transformation can occur. It is the field Jung sought to describe and validate from his earliest doctoral dissertation through his first attempts to formulate separately from Frued the 'synthetic' or 'constructive' standpoint in treatment, defining the dimension of 'free speculative play,' on into his later conceptualizations of the transcendent function and symbolic transformation ... this field is not a stable one, as is often assumed, and it is certainly not one which will take care of itself. Actually, it needs to be tended by means of a great deal of difficult, deliberate, and conscious work by the analyst." (pp. 8-12)

William Goodheart (1980). Theory of Analytic Interaction. San Francisco Jung Institute Library Journal. Vol. 1 (4), pp. 2-39

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Robert Langs - The Bipersonal Field

"In essence, the bipersonal field is defined by the ground rules or framework, the human and temporal-spatial setting and tenets that guide the analytic dyad. Within the field, every communication and experience has vectors from both patient and analyst, though in varying proportions. Communications within the field take place along an interface determined by the assets and pathology of each participant, and in the ideal course of treatment, this interface receives significant vectors from the patient's psychopathology to a greater degree than from those of the analyst. Analytic work takes place along that interface in terms of the contributions from each participant.

The properties, nature, and functions of the bipersonal field are defined by the ground rules or framework (for details, see Langs, 1975b), (1976a), (1976b). The framework establishes the distinctive features of the analytic interaction and the communicative properties of the field. The implications and meanings of the communications from each participant are therefore a function of the frame, in addition to intrapsychic factors within the patient and analyst, and elements within their interaction....

Within the bipersonal field, the listening process is geared toward the detection of communications which contain and reflect the unconscious sources of the patient's psychopathology. The material from the patient may be organized on three levels (Langs, 1978a), (1978b), (1978c): manifest content, which alludes to the surface and direct meanings of the patient's communications, verbal and nonverbal; Type One derivatives, which are readily available inferences derived from the manifest content; and Type Two derivatives, which are inferences from the manifest content that are organized around specific adaptive contexts—reality precipitants which evoke adaptive intrapsychic and interactional responses within the patient (Langs, 1973), (1978c).

In terms of the clinical study of neuroses (and the theory derived from it as stated above), work on a manifest level is unrelated to neurotic expression and psychoanalytic cure. Efforts to intervene on the basis of Type One derivatives isolates the clinical work from the patient's adaptive efforts, and fails to give the patient's communication dynamic and definitive meaning. At best, it is haphazard, likely to be used defensively by patient and therapist, and will only occasionally meaningfully illuminate the patient's unconscious pathological inner mental world (see below). Work with Type Two derivatives has specificity, takes into account the patient's adaptive and maladaptive efforts and current dynamics, is embedded in interactional considerations, and leads to the definition of specific pathological unconscious fantasies, memories, and introjects in terms of current realities and earlier genetic factors. It is the essential area of neurotic expression and analytic work.

Recognition of these three levels of communication from the patient, and consideration of the therapist's interventions to be described below, leads to the delineation of three types of communicative fields between patients and analysts, and three basic communicative styles that may be found in either participant (Langs, 1978b). The Type A field is one in which symbolic communication, illusion, transitional communication, and a play space have been established. The patient communicates in terms of derivatives organized around specific adaptive contexts—i.e. through Type Two derivatives; even when in a state of resistance, such derivatives are available and his material is eventually analyzable in the classical sense of that concept. The therapist's contribution involves the maintenance of a secure framework and a capacity to process the material from the patient toward cognitive, symbolic interpretations.

The Type B field is one in which action-discharge and projective identification prevails. The patient utilizes language and behavior to rid himself of accretions of internal stimuli and as a means of placing into the therapist disturbing (and sometimes good) inner mental contents, largely as a means of managing them externally. The effort is not designed toward cognitive insight, but toward discharge and immediate relief.

With patients prone toward this form of communication, the analyst may himself respond with projective identification and create a field entirely geared toward action-discharge, and unconscious exchanges of projective identifications. Such a field is destructive to the analytic process. On the other hand, an analyst who is capable of containing, metabolizing, and processing the patient's projective identifications toward cognitive insight can work effectively in a Type B field, enabling the patient ultimately to understand the nature and functions of his neurotic communicative thrusts.

The Type C field is characterized by its static qualities, and by the creation of impenetrable barriers, falsifications, efforts to destroy meaning, and endeavors to break the interpersonal links between patient and analyst. It is designed as a relatively impenetrable barrier to underlying chaos which may lie within the patient and/or analyst, and within their therapeutic interaction. Patients who utilize the Type C mode of communication convey empty words or describe extended dreams or narratives, though without an adaptive context. At times, they allude to a significant adaptive context, but without meaningful related derivatives. Occasionally, these patients will present metaphors of the Type C field, and these must be the focus of the analyst's interpretive work. In the Type C field, resistances and all other contents and mechanisms lack depth and derivative meaning, and as a rule, cannot be effectively interpreted (see below)." (pp. 5-7)

Robert Langs (1979). Interventions in the Bipersonal Field. Contemporary Psychoanalysis, Vol. 15, pp. 1-54

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Kenneth Lambert: Deintegration - Reintegration of the Self

"Jung, it may be remembered, used to liken early ego consciousness to a number of islands as if in an archipelago which then came together to make up a sort of land mass that could be called the ego—a notion reminiscent of Glover's ego nuclei coming together to form a coherent whole (GLOVER 6). The image created a number of questions and laid a foundation for further investigation.

Under its stimulus, Fordham related the image to the close observation of children, and this led him to postulate the following model (FORDHAM 2). The original self at the beginning of life is an integrate of all personal and archetypal potentialities and possibilities. These are the archetypes and ego-consciousness—still potential and not yet involved in the world of objects of flesh and blood, and of space and time. At some point, in intra-uterine life, or at birth, this self-integrate, so to speak, loosens up, and, through a process of partial deintegration, some of the elements separate out from the whole and get related to outside objects. For instance, the archetypal expectation of a nipple and breast may be met when an actual breast is presented to the baby, or in everyday language when the baby is put to the breast. When things go well the infant latches on to the breast and begins to suck. At the same time something of awareness or consciousness of what is happening comes into being—quite strongly if things fail to go well and an appreciable clash is involved. Awareness, however, and certainly consciousness seem to be shattered by rage and fear if the difference between the reality and the expectation is very great indeed, as I postulate to have been the case in the early and cumulative traumata suffered by the daughter of my patient. Under normal or favourable circumstances, however, some ego-consciousness emerges in connection with mouth-nipple experiences, so that, at this point, the self may be conceived of as being composed of unrealised archetypal potential, on the one hand, together with bits of ego-consciousness on the other. These are attached to palpable images formed by the meeting or getting together of the archetypal expectation of, say, a breast to be sucked with the reality of an actual breast objectively there. The realisation of the sucking potential in this way is achieved by its separating out from the original self and forming ‘an island of consciousness’—a de-integrate in Fordham's terms. We may link this with Winnicott's well-known notion of the infant's ‘creation’ of the breast when presented with one. Jungians naturally think that he can do this by virtue of an archetypal predisposition to find a breast and to ‘create’ it as his own subjective experience of an ‘outer’ reality matched to an inner expectation. Winnicott's description of object formation and internalised objects in addition can help Jungians to conceive of archetypal inner objects when, say, the breast, split into a good or bad object and, later, as a whole object, i.e., good and bad, has become an inner possession of the infant.

Fordham's de-integration process applies to the whole development of the infant, child and adult at each stage of life in terms of cognitive, emotional and conative processes. Thus he gradually comes into relationship with parts of the mother's body and with parts of his own body including skin surfaces and the orifices, as well as experiences of being held, being cleaned up, being fed, becoming aware of and forming multifarious relationships with father, siblings and members of large groups, with time and space, with night and day, with animals, flowers, etc., etc. It is postulated that there are archetypal predispositions to expect to meet all these real objects and experiences and that bits of ego consciousness get activated by this meeting. Also the internal archetypal themes are presented by education and culture, by means of the symbolism inherent in religious rituals, national occasions, initiation rites and in ceremonies connected with birth, death and marriage, etc. All the time, de-integration and re-integration processes are taking place, so that the re-integrated aspects of the self become more realised in terms of flesh and blood, space and time and also have more consciousness attached to them. Furthermore, the pieces of ego consciousness that emerge come together, as a whole, to form what we call the ego (Cf. PLAUT 16). This links together archetypal potentialities with reality in a conscious way, and thereby are formed the archetypal internal objects of the self. The theory of de-integration/re-integration should be understood as referring to a spontaneous process rather than a contrived one and it is something that ego consciousness goes along with in principle. The integrative processes are postulated to belong to the personality as a whole and not to the ego as such, although the latter has its part to play in the process. Fordham's description of the indications of maturity in ego-functioning therefore goes beyond that of Jung and Abenheimer (FORDHAM 4). In addition to his list of indications like (1) perception, (2) the organisation of mental contents, (3) remembering, (4) control over mobility, (5) reality testing, (6) defence structuring, he adds something that is decisive — (7) the capacity of the ego to relinquish its controlling and organising functions in favour of de-integrative and re-integrative process and in favour of spontaneous functioning, as in creativity, etc.

If we were to ask what the difference is between the original self-integrate and the re-integrated self, after an appropriate series of de-integrations, at the level of maturity suitable for the stage of life that has been reached, we could describe it in terms of content. The primary self-integrate is a conglomerate of archetypal potentiality only. At later stages of realisation, the self encompasses (1) archetypal potential, (2) archetypal images of not yet fully experienced reality, (3) archetypal internal objects experienced in space and time, and in flesh and blood, to which aspects of ego-consciousness have become attached, and (4) a growing coherence of ego-fragments into a loose organisation with a centre called the ego—an essential part of the re-integrated self."
(pp. 12-14)

Kenneth Lambert (1981). Emerging Consciousness. Journal of Analytical Psychology, Vol, 26, pp. 1-17