Friday, January 27, 2012

Kenneth Lambert - Correspondences between Jung and Racker

"I would like to conclude by indicating points where Racker's work amplifies and makes more explicit the formulations of Jung as listed above:

  • The mutual influence of two whole persons in the dialectical procedure. Racker's studies represent a detailed analysis of how the dialectical procedure or the analytic set-up promotes a longitudinal process in the interplay between analyst and patient in transference/counter-transference. The analytic predisposition of the analyst may lead to the patient's positive transferences. This can activate the analyst's positive counter-transference of a concordant type which in turn leads to the patient's risking expression of his negative transference. This may be met by the analyst's complementary negative counter-transference which may be transformed by him into a deeper concordant counter-transference. Gratitude for this can activate in the patient a deeper positive transference leading to therapeutic advance. 
  • The transformation of the two personalities resulting from their combining as if two chemical substances were being mixed. Racker shows how the personality of the analyst reverberates to the unconscious drama of the patient both in concordant and complementary counter-transference. His knowledge of the patient in this way is deepened and a creative interpretation can profoundly influence the patient's personality in time. We may add that the potency of both analyst and patient can be enhanced by this creative work. 
  • The overcoming of the demon of sickness whereby a sufferer can transmit his disease to a healthy person whose powers then subdue the demon. Racker illustrates this in detail by showing how through identification, introjection, and re-projection the analyst can take into himself the inner drama of his patient, understand it and give it back to the patient in a form whereby he can understand, assimilate and integrate it in a more creative and repaired form.
  • The wounding of the physician that gives him the measure of his power. For Jung the subduing of the demon of sickness can take place, ‘but not without impairing the well-being of the subduer’ (1929, p. 72), cp. Adler's note on ‘the wounded healer’ (1961, p. 117). Racker opens the way to a further understanding of how the analyst feels in his own person the impact of the patient's love, greed, hate, aggression and destructivity. It is his reaction to this and his understanding and the overcoming of the talion response that gives him therapeutic potency.
  • The intercrossing transference relationship or marriage quaternity. Racker's contribution here may be taken in terms of his analysis of the interplay between concordant transference with its ‘annulment of the object relationship’ and complementary transference which rests upon the presence of object relationships between the analyst and patient all through the analysis. The connection with the marriage quaternio stems from the fact that the interplay between endogamous relationships and exogamous relationships is implicit in the interaction between concordant and complementary counter-transference.
  • The activation of incest phantasies between patient and analyst. Racker's analysis goes into considerable detail on how the incest phantasies of infancy and childhood are activated by the analytic set-up so that both patient and analyst are involved. The success of the treatment depends naturally upon the analyst's having been made aware of these processes in his own analysis.

Finally, despite the work done by Racker and the usefulness of it to analytical psychologists, there remain a number of unsolved problems. Perhaps the greatest is to understand the conditions which render nugatory all efforts of the analyst to overcome the working of the talion law and to break into the vicious circle in which the patient has got fixed so that he remains quite unable to distinguish between his inner world and outer reality."

Kenneth Lambert (1972). Transference/Counter-Transference: Talion Law and Gratitude. Journal of Analytical Psychology, Vol. 17, pp. 31-50

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