Monday, April 9, 2012

Rosemary Gordon - Transference as a Fulcrum of Analysis

The most recent volume of the Journal of Analytical Psychology contained the death announcement of Dr. Rosemary Gordon who was a prominent author/editor within the field of Analytical Psychology and an influential member of the Society of Analytical Psychology in London. She died on January 15th, 2012 at the age of 92.

"The value of transference analysis is, I think, intimately linked up with its potentiality for stimulating the development of the symbolizing process, or, as Jung has called it, of the transcendent function. This function enables the psyche to form and to relate to symbols. Symbols act as bridges between pairs of opposites and so link the conscious to the unconscious, the strange to the familiar, soma to psyche, and the fragment to the whole. Francis Bacon has regarded myths or ‘fables’ as ‘a transparent veil occupying the "middle" region that separates what has perished from what survives’. One might say that analysis strives to help a patient develop such a middle region, so that, as in the case of my patient, what has perished (i.e., the quarrelling parents of the past) will cease to be confused with what survives (i.e., the patient himself who needs to gain access to his potential to grow and to create).

When ‘transference’ rather than ‘true’ relationship predominates then the symbolic function has most likely remained immature. For then past and present cannot yet be seen as both related and different, nor can the object perceived be recognized as other or more than the object desired or feared. In a previous paper I have suggested that the transcendent function can develop only when a person has become able to confront three major life problems: death, mourning and separation, and greed.

The very context and circumstances of analysis inevitably evoke these fundamental anxieties—which the history of the patient may have made too overwhelming and unbearable for him to contain. Through the constancy and reliability of the analyst, the rhythm of his presence and of his absence, and the perception, verbalization and interpretation of the fears, rages, loves and hates the patient experiences, the disintegrating ferociousness of these anxieties may be diminished sufficiently so that then true symbolization can develop..."
(p. 114)

"To summarize:
1. The concept of transference has been accepted as valid and valuable but each generation of analysts hopes to use it with increasing skill and perceptivity in the analytic process.

2. Transference analysis can be regarded as lived-through active imagination. Its goal is the forging of links between inner and outer world through the development of the transcendent function.

3. Interesting parallels suggest themselves between the discoveries and goals of transference analysis and Martin Buber's concept of the ‘I-It’ and the ‘I-Thou’ attitudes. The ‘I-It’ attitude I have suggested corresponds to transference relationship, while in the ‘I-Thou’ attitude a whole subject encounters or relates not to an object, but to another whole subject."
(p. 116)

Rosemary Gordon (1968). Transference as a Fulcrum of Analysis. Journal of Analytical Psychology, Vol. 13, pp. 109-117

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