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

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