Thursday, June 28, 2012

Rushi Ledermann - Narcissistic Disorder

"Before discussing the treatment of narcissistic disorder I shall outline my view of its nature, since I believe that this syndrome differs from other personality disorders. Some points will recur which I made in my previous papers on the subject (LEDERMANN 10, 11). Psychoanalysts and analytical psychologists are well-known to disagree, in some respects, about the nature of narcissistic disorder. Both consider it to be a disorder of the self, but they work with different concepts of the self. I see pathological narcissism as the opposite of what narcissism means in ordinary parlance. The Oxford English Dictionary defines narcissism as the ‘tendency to self-worship, absorption in one's own personal perfections’. That seems to me to describe the defence or facade in people who suffer from narcissistic disorders. The actual disorder is, in fact, the opposite of self-worship. It is the inability to love oneself and hence the inability to love another person. As I said in my previous papers, narcissistic patients suffer from severe defects in their object relations which make them appear self-absorbed. They are fixated on an early defence structure which springs into being in infancy—when, for whatever reasons, there is a catastrophically bad fit between the baby and the mother, frequently compounded by the lack of an adequate father and by other inimical experiences in childhood.

Babies, thus deprived, grow into persons who lack trust in other people. They replace mature dependence by spurious pseudo-independence and delusions of omnipotence. They experience their lives as futile and empty, and their feelings as being frozen or split off. In severe cases these patients feel themselves outside the human ken and suffer from a terror of non-existing. This terror and emptiness are frequently covered over by a superficially smooth social adaptation, sometimes by feelings of aloofness and superiority, at times even by grandiose ideas about themselves.

In my previous papers I have discussed how Fordham's theory of deintegration and of the earliest defences of the self in infancy has helped me to understand the origin of narcissistic disorder. I speculated that with such early defences the process of deintegration is defective from the start. This leads to a badly formed ego that, in my view, is an essential feature of narcissistic disorder. I was interested to see that Kohut also speaks of selfnuclei not yet stably cohesive in what he terms borderline patients (quoted by Schwaber 15, p. 468). It is remarkable how close he comes to Fordham's theory of ego formation, but it is beyond the scope of this paper to elaborate this point.

A baby who, in phantasy, does away with the mother has the experience of, one might say, being himself baby and mother, lonely and omnipotent. He does not expect any good to come from the outside world and cannot put his trust into anything good that even an unsatisfactory mother provides. Moreover, as he has abolished his noxious mother in infancy, he sometimes feels as if he had killed her. If his mother is incapable of being a mother to him and appears to be impervious to his demands, or if an inborn defect in the baby makes it impossible for him to use her motherliness, then the delusion that he is murderous gets reinforced. Such a baby, of course, lacks the foundations for object relations which are based on his relationship to his mother. It is not surprising that such patients have enormous resistance against relating to the analyst. I have further postulated that a baby with stunted oral deintegration also suffers from pathological deintegration at the anal stage of development. Moreover, deintegration at the anal stage is not object-related because he has ‘abolished’ the object. The healthy mother of a healthy infant, as it were, detoxicates her baby's angry faeces that, in phantasy, he expels into the part-object, the breast. The narcissistically damaged baby has intense destructive impulses. But as he cannot (in phantasy) discharge them into the mother he expels them into what he experiences as nothingness or outer space. There they are uncontained, undetoxicated and they become enormously threatening. This, it would appear, is why narcissistic patients feel so bad and so persecuted and at the same time deny their personal hate. This unrelated aspect of the anal phase reinforces the experience of the stunted oral phase: that of arid power.
" (pp. 303-304)

Rushi Ledermann (1982). Narcissistic Disorder and Its Treatment. Journal of Analytical Psychology, Vol. 27, pp. 303-321

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Hyman Spotnitz - The Maturational Interpretation

Editors Note: Hyman Spotnitz is the founder of the school of Modern Psychoanalysis

"The growth of understanding about the curative factors in analytic psychotherapy is reflected in changing emphases in interpretation. It was originally thought that what healed a person was the recall of memories. Treatment was then regarded as incomplete unless, in Freud's words, "all obstacles in the case are explained, the gaps in memory are filled out, and the original occasions of the repressions discovered." When it became evident that the memories were less important than that which prevented their recall, interpretations were made to overcome these repressive forces, manifested as resistance. Later, resistance was recognized as an important source of interpretive data because it told the story of the ego's development. Interpretations stressed the constrictive influence that resistance had exerted and the need to modify it. The analyst worked to resolve resistance in order to create more favorable psychological conditions for ego functioning. Explanations were oriented toward the integration of the ego and the acquisition of insight.

More recently, growing knowledge of the communication function of resistance has stimulated other approaches to interpretation. As yet, these have not dispelled the misleading notion that therapeutic change issues primarily from objective understanding of one's behavior. In the professional literature, interpretation is still most commonly associated with such words as "call attention to," "convince," "point out," "alert," "demonstrate," "prove," "confront," and "unmask." But the use of interpretation primarily for veil-lifting purposes is waning, with the recognition that other aspects of the treatment relationship are often more significant than the development of self-understanding. The patient usually acquires self-understanding, but it is rarely the decisive factor in the case. Objective understanding of his behavior does not invariably make it easier for him to change it. Of course, the therapist has to understand what motivates the patient, but does not intervene just to transmit his insight. Scientific understanding is the raw data for therapeutic understanding; that is, some knowledge of what is going on in the patient which is conveyed to die patient if and when it will unlock the door to personality change. Instead of trying to overcome resistance by explanation the therapist uses interpretation to create the precise emotional experiences which will resolve the problems. When the analyst operates in this way insight emerges as a byproduct of the connections established between the impulses, feelings, thoughts, and memories of the patient and his words.

In many cases I find it helpful to operate on the hypothesis that interpretation is consistently employed for maturational purposes. The treatment itself is conceptualized as a growth experience. The problems which motivate a person to undergo treatment are attributable, in some degree, to inadequacies in his interchanges with the environment from conception onward. These interchanges—physiochemical and biological as well as psychological—occur with different configurations of environmental forces which, in a sense, constitute maturational teams. During infancy, mother and child form the team. When the oedipal level is reached, die child's maturational interchanges are more specifically with his family. Then the societal team takes over, and the reciprocal processes encompass an expanding circle of peers and adults.

The candidate for psychotherapy is a person who is unable to deal comfortably with the exigencies of his life because he sustained some damage in these early maturational interchanges. He commits himself to a series of supplementary interchanges with a therapeutic object because he suffers from the effects of failures, or memories of failures. Deleterious experiences with his natural objects caused fixations or arrests in growth. In attempting to cope with them, he developed maladaptations, certain repetitive patterns which drained off into circuitous processes energy that was required for maturation.

Consequently, he enters treatment with two distinctly different types of problems. One, his maturational needs were not met. Two, his maladaptation patterns prevent him from effectively assimilating the experiences that would reduce these needs. The operation of these patterns blocks maturation.

Maladaptations are not totally reversible, but it is sufficient for the analyst to intervene to loosen their compulsive grip and to nullify the effects of the original blockages. If he does this, the patient usually requires little help in obtaining and assimilating experiences that will meet his maturational needs.

In theory, therefore, the therapist does not intervene to reduce maturational needs directly; nor does he address himself to maladaptations (defenses) that do not interfere with maturation. Rather, he intervenes to lay the foundation for new growth by freeing the patient from the stranglehold of pathological maladaptations. As these patterns are aroused and reactivated in the transference relationship they are studied until the analyst understands how they were set up and why they come into play in a given situation. He relates to the patient in terms of this understanding but does not formulate it verbally to the patient unless the latter desires an explanation that will facilitate his talking and cooperative functioning. In that case, an interpretation is indicated. By and large maladaptive patterns are dealt with when they have been reactivated with sufficient intensity to be reducible."
(pp. 166-167)

Hyman Spotnitz (1966). The Maturational Interpretation. Psychoanalytic Review, Vol. 53C, pp. 166-169

Monday, June 18, 2012

June Singer - Five Ways of Misusing the Concept of Archetypes

"It is through focusing attention on the numinosity of the individual archetypes and the multiplicity of their imaginal expressions, and through losing sight of the context in which they are embedded, that the crucial concept of the archetype tends to be misused. The misuses are ubiquitous: analysts, analysands, and students of Jung are all vulnerable to the possibility of falling into some of the traps which this difficult concept lays out. In this paper I shall be content to explore five ways in which the archetype can be misused. These are (1) categorisation, (2) reduction, (3) reification, (4) pathologising, and (5) interpretation.

(1) Categorisation. To categorise in terms of archetypes is to divide the realm of the collective unconscious into convenient pigeonholes, placing everything relating to the feminine in man in the ‘anima’ compartment, everything having to do with masculine power and drive in woman in the ‘animus’ compartment, and everything to do with children into the category of ‘one's emerging potential’, or, if the child is especially precocious or in some other way unusual, making use of the ‘divine child’ category. There are also the ‘helpful animals’, and ‘the shadow’, which in its more virulent forms becomes ‘the Satanic’. And of course, there is the ‘self. While the ‘self’ is a representation of the archetype of wholeness, when misused it becomes, like any other of the archetypal concepts, one element of the psyche striving for its recognition among the other elements.

(2) Reduction. It is often said that Jungian psychology is not reductive. Perhaps, compared with orthodox psychoanalysis, it is not. But consider carefully: although Jungians may not regularly reduce psychic phenomena to their origins in infantile sexual traumas or to events in the individual's early life within the family, how often among Jungians is a particular mode of individual behaviour explained by ascribing it to the activation of a particular archetype? One might say, for example, that the Goddess Hera is ruling the individual when societal values are being defended, that Athena is in the ascendancy when a woman values her intellect over her sensibility, or that Aphrodite is operating when erotic passions rule. In this way, the psyche is reduced all too often to a pantheon of quarrelling gods and goddesses (the names we give to archetypal images) contending for possession and control of the human soul. In these circumstances the ego has about as much chance of autonomy as had Leda when Zeus swooped down from heaven in the form of a swan and raped her before she knew what was happening to her. Of course, she leaned back and enjoyed it. This Ledaesque abandoning of responsibility in the face of the god (read ‘archetype’) is one of the effects of what has been called ‘the new polytheism’. This ‘new polytheism’ is not to be mistaken for a development beyond the sense of that primordial oneness which held our forefathers in awe and which can still fill some people with cosmic wonder. Far from it. The ‘new polytheism’ seems to me to be, rather, evidence of the degeneration of a god concept that became institutionalised as the summum bonum, the highest good, in a world where evil is all too apparent.

(3) Reification: to make of something abstract a real, concrete, or literal thing. Not only have the gods and goddesses been turned into behaviour-pattern formations, but even their mythical abode has received the projections of the human psyche. In the process, an archaic view of the heavens has been concretised. Astrology provides an example. This pseudo-science was recently taken to task in a book review titled ‘The case against psychic rape’:

Almost a year has passed, thank God, since I have been asked: ‘What's your sign?’ The locution itself seems finally to have succumbed to the wearing effects of mindless repetition, and now it lies, junked with ‘rap session’ and ‘telling it like it is’, wherever rusty language lives its second halflife in mothballs, But the reflex that provokes someone to ask a stranger for his astrological sign has not, I'm afraid, been effaced. At its most benign, the impositions of a cosmological summary upon the character of a newly-met human being constitutes a denial of the person's singularity, a mindless reduction: ‘Oh, Scorpio, I get it, you’re selfish.’ At its worst, the intrusion constitutes simple theft of whatever a person wishes to reserve: irony, surprise, inconsistency. Not the least pleasure of life is to outfox predictability and inexorability, and so, to be construed as not more than a fulfilment of an inventory of characteristics assigned to one of twelve astrological rubrics is to be ruthlessly compacted (WOLFF 9).

I, too, feel that to assign the motivation for particular and individual behaviours to archetypal patterns is to risk losing the precious and unique qualities of the individual human spirit. I believe that the forming and shaping of human personality is integral to the process of individuation. This process is constantly moving in the only way it can—in patterns which reflect all that we, as individuals, bring with us into the world; in all that we encounter and that has impact upon us in the environment and in our own being—as an effect of the dynamics between the two. To place a fixed characterisation upon the mobile complexity that is the human organism is to attempt to freeze in time something that moves through a continuum of experience. The archetypal images may portray the psyche, but only as a photograph portrays a living, moving person.

(4) Pathologising. This is the fourth example of the misuse of the archetype, and it is related to the human propensity to categorise what we see and experience. It is generally asserted that Jungian psychology is based on a growth model of psychotherapy, rather than a pathology model. However, the practice of categorising behaviour in terms of archetypes may lead to the very thing Jungians criticise when rejecting the pathology model of psychotherapy on the basis that it focuses primarily upon the symptom, in that it groups a number of symptoms under the rubric of a psychiatric syndrome which is labelled, and for which it then proceeds to prescribe an appropriate method of treatment. In the pathology model, we ear often about how to treat depression, or schizophrenia, or manic depressive illness. We hear correspondingly rarely about how to treat people, suffering human beings, who are in a process of growth that is constantly changing—a process in which the person may be suffering from that disturbance of equilibrium which is a necessary accompaniment of the process of transformation. It is quite possible to lose sight of the uniqueness of the individual, and the special way in which this individual related to the environment, in our efforts to ‘diagnose’ a particular archetypal configuration. By describing a certain type of behaviour as puer aeternus, for example, we are classifying a person as immature and self-centred, as one who has never quite managed to accept adult responsibilities. Consequently, we have certain expectations of how such a person will react to situations. Our expectations cannot fail to be communicated in some way, either directly or through unconscious channels. The person so designated, so categorised, then says to himself, ‘Well, what can you expect of me, a puer aeternus?’ Thus the patient is almost encouraged to identify with the archetype. Little wonder that he becomes fixated there! So archetypal diagnosis, like any other type of diagnosis, has a tendency to become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

(5) Interpretation is another activity which, when improperly offered, may occasion the misuse of the archetype. We know how it is to awaken from a dream having been deeply moved, feeling a sense of awe, or excitement, or intense longing. There is something left with us which completely mystifies us and shakes us to the very core. Then the analyst, or friend, or even the dreamer, feels called upon to fill the gap by amplifying the image with some related myth or fairy tale. When this is ill-timed it can have the effect of drawing the dreamer's energy away from the feeling-tone of the image, and transferring it to the source of the archetypal associations."
(p. 7-9)

June Singer (1979). The Use and Misuse of the Archetype. Journal of Analytical Psychology, Vol. 24, p. 3-17

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Michael Parsons - Psychoanalysis as Vocation and Martial Art

"This paper started as an attempt to clarify for myself my reaction to two books. But I soon realized I was doing something which J. Sandler (1983) has urged on us, which is to uncover our own implicit, unarticulated views on the nature of analysis. So it has turned into an account of what one analyst has so far discovered psychoanalysis to be. None of us can know for certain what it will come to mean for us in the future. But we may hope to continue striking at some form of internal analytic makiwara, and waiting to learn from a patient, as our swords cross, how to interpret his energy from within a still broadening spirit.

Starting from a consideration of two books, The Case for a Personal Psychotherapy by Lomas (1981) and The Standing of Psychoanalysis by Farrell (1981), I develop the idea of psychoanalysis as a vocation. This means it is not only something the analyst does; it is also an expression of his being. Similar ideas are traced in the work of Rank and Lacan. However, these two made the mistake of seeing this as a liberation from technique and basic principles. By contrast I contend that analysis as a mode of being is only to be achieved through constantly grounding oneself in these. I illustrate this position with examples from the traditional martial arts of China and Japan which have unexpected resemblances to psychoanalysis."  (p. 461)

Michael Parsons (1984). Psychoanalysis as Vocation and Martial Art. International Review of Psycho-Analysis, Vol. 11, pp. 453-462

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Conference Announcement - Art and Psyche Conference - NYC July 19-22

There is still time to register to attend the Art and Psyche Conference!

Art and Psyche is an international conference organized by the Art and Psyche Working Group Sponsored by the Jungian Psychoanalytic Association, The International Association of Analytical Psychology and the Archive for Research in Archetypal Symbolism. Also cosponsored and hosted by New York University Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development: Department of Applied Psychology and Department of Art and Art Professions.

The conference focuses on the creative collaboration between depth psychology and the arts. Traditional lectures, presentations, workshops, experiential activities, and breakouts will feature presentations by painters, musicians, poets, actors, photographers, psychotherapists, analysts and expressive arts therapists. Ten minute sparks of images and ideas will flash throughout the conference.

The opening day of the conference will offer designed tours of the National Museum of the American Indian in New York City, the Rubin Museum of Art, the Morgan Library and Museum, the Asia Society Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and its Watson Library, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. There will be walking tours of the Masonic temple and the High Line, viewings of subway station murals in The Arts For Transit program, and selected art and psyche videos at NYU. Maps of galleries and subway art will be provided.

The Archive for Research in Archetypal Symbolism (ARAS) and the Kristine Mann Library (KML) will offer open houses for those interested in the arts, symbolism and psychology.

The Thursday night public program with the award-winning poet Mark Doty on Walt Whitman, and Donald Sosin on his score for the film Manhatta, will includea panel with composer Jorge Martin and photographer Deborah O’Grady. A Saturday night Dream-Over, an overnight spent at the Rubin Museum, will be offered.

73 presenters are scheduled over the 4 days of the conference, including Fisher King author Mark Winborn who will be offering a multi-media presentation based on his book Deep Blues: Human Soundscapes for the Archetypal Journey which explores the psychological foundations of the blues music genre.

Complete program information, registration and hotel information can be obtained at the Art and Psyche website.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Andrew Samuels: Post-Jungian Schools of Analytical Psychology

"To find one's way around in the contemporary Jungian world is not easy. Jung's standing as a psychological thinker and analyst, rather than guru or prophet, is reinforced by analytical psychologists and the writings of the post-Jungians. It no longer rests solely upon Jung's legacy of the twenty volumes of the Collected Works and his commensurate charisma. In a way, Jung needs the post-Jungians as much as they need him if his work is to be extended into the future. The prospect for analytical psychology is a shared concern and the inheritance has become a many-stranded skein of thought which has inspired, influenced, challenged, and in some instances infuriated, those who followed.

We should note the extent to which post-Jungians have felt able to challenge or attack Jung's work, often arguing with him on the basis of stringent criticisms from non-Jungians as well as adapting and integrating parallel developments in other approaches to psychology.

In his book Jungian Psychotherapy: a Study in Analytical Psychology, Fordham states that ‘a very little has been written on the development of the various schools of analytical psychology that have grown up’(Fordham, 1978, p. 53). I decided to respond to this, bearing in mind Fordham's assertion (p. ix) that ‘analytical psychology is a discipline in its own right… its ideas and practices can be assessed without regard to the persons who initiated them’.

Unlike the Freudians, post-Jungians have not formed into officially recognised schools, though the process has certainly taken place informally and there are groups in existence with common views. Dogmatism and conflict between groups has not been avoided.

To talk of Jungians, of post-Jungians and of schools of Jungians, is in itself a contentious matter. Jung stated that there simply was one Jungian—himself. He said he had no ambition to start a school of psychology. I imagine he had in mind an attempt to avoid what he considered Freud's excesses of rabbinical authority and the whole painful early history of psychoanalysis which involved so much personalia. Furthermore, as the ideologue of individuation with its stress on each person becoming himself and differentiating from others, not to mention his observation that a person's psychological type and personality play a part in dictating what he believes, Jung was bound to want to leave it up to the personal capacity of an individual as to how ‘Jungian’ he would be. However, as Henderson points out, ‘there is now a basic Jungian body of knowledge which does not permit unlimited experimentation or theorising’. And he goes on to say that Jung ‘abhorred systematisation of any kind and this was a reason why his school took so long to be formed (Henderson, 1975, pp. 120-121).....
" (pp. 345-346)

"In formulating my own classification I have wanted above all to provide a model that will allow for individual differences while describing post-Jungian schools with sufficient coherence to be of use in the twin aims summarised by Goldenberg—to provide access into post-Jungian developments for outsiders and to enable a higher degree of structuring, ordering and mutual reflection in internal debate.

My hypothesis is that there are indeed three main schools. We can call these the Classical School, the Developmental School and the Archetypal School. My method is to select three aspects of theoretical discussion and three of clinical practice to which all analytical psychologists relate and I hope to demonstrate that it is the ordering and weighting of these that underpin the evolution of the schools.

The three theoretical areas are: (1) the definition of archetypal; (2) the concept of self; (3) the development of personality.

The three clinical aspects are: (1) the analysis of transference-countertransference; (2) emphasis upon symbolic experience of the self; (3) examination of highly differentiated imagery.

With regard to theory, I think the Classical School would weight the possibilities in the order 2, 1, 3. That is, the integrating and individuating self would be most important, other archetypal imagery arid potentials would come close behind and the early experience of the individual would be seen as of somewhat lesser importance. (I imagine this to represent, in the most general terms, Jung's own ordering of priorities, hence the use of the word ‘Classical’). The Developmental School would weight these possibilities in the order 3, 2, 1. Importance would be given to the personal development of the individual, which would then involve a consideration of the self, then seen as generating its archetypal potentialities and imagery over a lifetime. The Archetypal school would consider archetypal imagery first, the self second and development would receive less emphasis. Thus the ordering would be 1, 2, 3.

Turning to clinical practice, the Classical School would weight the possibilities 2, 3, 1, or perhaps 2, 1, 3. I am not sure whether transference-countertransference or a pursuit of particularised imagery would come second to the search for the self. The Developmental School would order its clinical priorities 1, 2, 3, or possibly 1,3,2. Here again, I am sure that transference-countertransference would be considered a most important aspect, but I am not certain whether experiences of the self or an examination of imagery would rate second position. The Archetypal School would probably function in the order 3, 2, 1. That is, particularised imagery would be regarded as more useful than symbolic experiences on the self, and both would be more central than transference-countertransference."
(pp. 351-352)

Andrew Samuels (1983). The Emergence of Schools of Post-Jungian Analytical Psychology. Journal of Analytical Psychology, Vol. 28, pp. 345-362