Sunday, December 29, 2013

Pre-Publication Announcement: Shared Realities

Shared Realities: Participation Mystique and Beyond
Mark Winborn (Editor), Fisher King Press (forthcoming, early 2014)

Shared Realities: Participation Mystique and Beyond brings together Jungian analysts and psychoanalysts from across the United States, the United Kingdom, and France. Jung’s concept of participation mystique is used as a starting point for an in depth exploration of ‘shared realities’ in the analytic setting and beyond. The clinical, narrative, and theoretical discussions move through such related areas as: projective identification, negative coniunctio, reverie, intersubjectivity, the interactive field, phenomenology, neuroscience, the transferential chimera, shamanism, shared reality of place, borderland consciousness, and mystical participation. This unique collection of essays bridges theoretical orientations and includes some of the most original analytic writers of our time (approximately 320 pages).

Introduction: An Overview of Participation Mystique
    Mark Winborn
Negative Coniunctio: Envy and Sadomasochism in Analysis
    Pamela Power
Trauma, Participation Mystique, Projective Identification and Analytic Attitude
    Marcus West
Watching the Clouds: Analytic Reverie and Participation Mystique
    Mark Winborn
Modern Kleinian Therapy, Jung’s Participation Mystique,
and the Projective Identification Process
    Robert Waska
Songs Never Heard Before: Listening and Living Differently
in Shared Realities
    Dianne Braden
Variants of Mystical Participation
    Michael Eigen
Participation Mystique in Peruvian Shamanism
    Deborah Bryon
Healing Our Split: Participation Mystique and C. G. Jung
    Jerome Bernstein
The Transferential Chimera and Neuroscience
    Fran├žois Martin-Vallas
Toward a Phenomenology of Participation Mystique and a Reformulation
of Jungian Philosophical Anthropology
    John White
    Mark Winborn.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

William Meredith-Owen: Are Relational Assumptions Eroding Traditional Analysis?

Abstract (p. 593): “The author designates as ‘traditional’ those elements of psychoanalytic presumption and practice that have, in the wake of [Michael] Fordham’s legacy, helped to inform analytical psychology and expand our capacity to integrate the shadow. It is argued that this element of the broad spectrum of Jungian practice is in danger of erosion by the underlying assumptions of the relational approach, which is fast becoming the new establishment. If the maps of the traditional landscape of symbolic reference (primal scene, Oedipus et al.) are disregarded, analysts are left with only their own self-appointed authority with which to orientate themselves. This self-centric epistemological basis of the relationalists leads to a revision of ‘analytic attitude’ that may be therapeutic but is not essentially analytic. This theme is linked to the perennial challenge of balancing differentiation and merger and traced back, through Chasseguet-Smirgel, to its roots in Genesis.
     An endeavour is made to illustrate this within the Journal convention of clinically based discussion through a commentary on [Warren] Colman’s (2013) avowedly relational treatment of the case material presented in his recent Journal paper ‘Reflections on knowledge and experience’ and through an assessment of Jessica Benjamin’s (2004) relational critique of Ron Britton’s (1989) transference embodied approach.”

From Conclusion (p. 609): “I still find myself inclined to resist this complete erosion of the symbolic realm. However, in the spirit of eschewing nebulousness and pretension, I would not claim for it any further remit beyond what is embodied in our (implicit) assumptions about the mother and the father, their intercourse, and our relationship to that. It is this that has given rise to the structured landscape of triangulation that has been a part of our psyche’s culture since Genesis and which ‘analytic attitude’ based clinical practice has shown we can reliably expect to encounter in the transference. A quintessential expression of this viewpoint was given by Roger Money-Kyrle (1971) in his last paper, aptly entitled ‘The aims of psycho-analysis’, the chief of which he defines as helping ‘the patient understand, and so overcome, emotional impediments to his discovering what he innately already knows’.”

William Meredith-Owen (2013) Are Waves of Relational Assumptions Eroding Traditional Analysis? Journal of Analytical Psychology, Vol. 58, pp. 593–614.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Psychoanalytic Fair - Feb 8, 2014 Columbia University, NYC

Psychoanalytic Fair: Unity and Diversity, February 8, 2014
Teacher's College, Columbia University

The Psychoanalytic Fair will bring together a large number of area psychoanalytic institutes under one roof to provide detailed information about their training programs. Interested students and the public at large will be able to conveniently collect this diverse information in one place. Participating institutes will provide brochures and will have representatives to answer questions. A distinguished panel of presenters will be speaking on the relevance of psychoanalysis in the 21st century and issues in psychoanalytic training. 

More information available here:

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Stefano Bolognini on Psychoanalytic Empathy

Editor's Note: Stefano Bolognini is the current President of the International Psychoanalytic Association and the first Italian to be elected to that position.

"I have chosen to focus on certain specific elements, since my interest is to highlight some fundamental points which I shall briefly summarize:

- Empathy is a complex state which is not limited to concordance with the patient’s conscious ego-syntonic experience (the hypothesis of gross “simplifiers”), nor with a specific conscious or unconscious part privileged by a particular theory (such as Kohut’s “wounded narcissistic self”). On the contrary, it requires space and suspension for an elaborate identification with the various areas and internal levels of the patient.
- Empathy cannot be planned because it comes about through occasional, undeterminable openings of the preconscious channels of the analyst, the patient or both.

- The analyst’s training gives him on average an advantage over most other people in being able to create the intra- and interpsychic conditions suitable for the development of empathic situations with greater ease and in a more elaborate way.
Empathy has nothing to do with kind-heartedness or sympathy, because it may come about through a type of identification which in itself is not particularly flattering or gratifying, made possible sometimes by the specific resonance with corresponding “undesirable” areas in the psychoanalyst or his negative feelings.

- Psychoanalytic empathy includes the possibility to accede over time and through the working through of the countertransference to the reintegration of split-off components, whose existence is not only hypothesized – in the manner of engineers around a drawing board – but experienced and recognized by the fully aware analyst.
If the conscious is the natural seat of the organization and formalization of experience “in the light of the ego”, the preconscious is the place for the exploration of the experience of one’s own self and that of others."
Stefano Bolognini, "The Complex Nature of Psychoanalytic Empathy," accessed from his personal blog -
His thoughts on this subject are explored in greater depth in his 2004 book Psychoanalytic Empathy (Free Association Books).

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

New Interactive Website for APA Division 39 Review

APA Division 39 Review - New interactive website for Division 39 (Psychoanalysis) Review - DIVISION/Review is a quarterly psychoanalytic forum of review essays, commentary, interviews and discussion. It is open to viewpoints from across the spectrum of psychoanalytic schools and disciplines. DIVISION/Review will primarily address topics related to clinical psychoanalysis, but also to cultural and intellectual fields beyond that focus. Read the current and/or back issues and then comment or start a new discussion thread.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

40,000 Views on The Psychoanalytic Muse

The Psychoanalytic Muse celebrates 40,000 views since its inception on March 10, 2011.  The blog has been viewed from 108 countries around the world. Such a strong world-wide interest in the topics of psychoanalysis, psychoanalytic psychotherapy, and analytical psychology underscores the vitality of the field. Thank you for continuing to read.


Mark Winborn, PhD, NCPsyA
Editor - The Psychoanalytic Muse

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Singer and Kimbles - The Cultural Complex

“This book sets out to explore a single notion – what we have called “the cultural complex.” The very name of the notion is a synthesis of two very potent words – “cultural” and “complex” – each carrying a long and important history of research, speculation, and multileveled meaning. The notion of a “cultural complex” is a synthetic idea, i.e., it springs from a particular tradition – analytical psychology – and draws on different strands of that tradition to build a new idea for the purpose of understanding the psychology of group conflict. Over and over again in this book, we will underline the premise that the psychology of cultural complexes operates both in the collective psychology of the group and in the individual members of the group…

As personal complexes emerge out of the level of the personal unconscious in their interaction with deeper levels of the psyche and early parental/familial relationships, cultural complexes can be thought of arising out the cultural unconscious as it interacts with both the archetypal and personal realms of the psyche and the broader outer world arena of schools, communities, media, and all the other forms of cultural and group life. As such, cultural complexes can be thought of as forming the essential components of an inner sociology. But this inner sociology does not claim to be objective or scientific in its description of different groups and classes of people. Rather, it is a description of groups and classes of people as filtered through the psyches of generations of ancestors. It has all sorts of information and misinformation about the structures of societies – a truly, inner sociology – and its essential building blocks are cultural complexes. Cultural complexes are not the same as cultural identity or what has sometimes been called “national character,” although there are times when cultural complexes, cultural identity and national character can seem impossibly intertwined...

Intense collective emotion is the hallmark of an activated cultural complex at the core of which is an archetypal pattern. Cultural complexes structure emotional experience and operate in the personal and collective psyche in much the same way as individual complexes, although their content might be quite different... Individuals and groups in the grips of a particular cultural complex automatically take on a shared body language and postures or express their distress in similar somatic complaints. Finally, like personal complexes, cultural complexes can provide those caught in their potent web of stories and emotions a simplistic certainty about the group’s place in the world in the face of otherwise conflicting and ambiguous uncertainties.

To summarize, cultural complexes are based on repetitive, historical group experiences which have taken root in the cultural unconscious of the group. At any ripe time, these slumbering cultural complexes can be activated in the cultural unconscious and take hold of the collective psyche of the group and the individual collective psyche of individual members of the group. The inner sociology of the cultural complexes can seize the imagination, the behavior and the emotions of the collective psyche and unleash tremendously irrational forces in the name of their “logic.”

Everywhere one turns today, there is a group that seems to be feeling the effects of a cultural complex in its behavior and relationships to other groups, in its feelings about itself and its sense of place in the world. Group complexes are everywhere and one can easily feel swamped by their affects and claims. To suggest that a group is in the grip of a complex in its behavior or affect – particularly if there is merit to the claim and the group has been discriminated against by a colonial power or a white power or a male power or a black power or a female power etc., etc. – is to risk being attacked with the full fury of that group’s psychic defenses. Mostly these group complexes have to do with trauma, discrimination, feelings of oppression and inferiority at the hands of another offending group – although the “offending groups” are just as frequently feeling discriminated against and treated unfairly. Group complexes litter the psychic landscape and are as easily detonated as the literal land mines that scatter the globe and threaten life – especially young life – everywhere.” (pp. 1-7)

Singer, T. and Kimbles, S.L. (2004). The Cultural Complex : contemporary Jungian perspectives on psyche and society, East Sussex, UK: Brunner- Routledge.

Peter Fonagy - Psychoanalysis Today

Conclusion to the 2003 article by Peter Fonagy:

"Our aim should be to assist the movement of psychoanalysis toward science. In order to ensure a future for psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic therapies within psychiatry, psychoanalytic practitioners must change their attitude in the direction of a more systematic outlook. This attitude shift would be characterized by several components: a) The evidence base of psychoanalysis should be strengthened by adopting additional data-gathering methods that are now widely available in biological and social science. New evidence may assist psychoanalysts in resolving theoretical differences, a feat which the current database of predominantly anecdotal clinical accounts have not been capable of achieving. b) The logic of psychoanalytic discourse would need to change from its overdependence on rhetoric and global constructs to using specific constructs that allow for cumulative data-gathering. c) Flaws in psychoanalytic scientific reasoning, such as failures to consider alternative accounts for observations (beyond that favored by the author), should be overcome and in particular, the issue of genetic and social influence should be approached with increased sophistication. d) The isolation of psychoanalysis should be replaced by active collaboration with other mental health disciplines. Instead of fearing that fields adjacent to psychoanalysis might destroy the unique insights offered by clinical work, we need to embrace the rapidly evolving 'knowledge chain' focused at different levels of the study of brain-behavior relationship, which, as Kandel (,) points out, may be the only route to the preservation of the hard won insights of psychoanalysis."

Peter Fonagy (2003) Psychoanalysis Today, World Psychiatry, Vol. 2(2), pp. 73–80.
available at

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Upcoming International Psychoanalytic Conferences

Journal of Analytical Psychology 12th International Conference: The Varieties of Jungian Clinical Experience: Complex, Identity, Intersubjectivity 
29 May to June 2014, Berlin, Germany

The 7th International Conference on the Work of Frances Tustin: Spilling, Falling, Dissolving: Engaging Primitive Anxieties of the Emerging Self
July 24-27, 2014, Boston, MA
Boston, MA
Organized by the Frances Tustin Memorial Trust

International Psychoanalytic Association International Congress: Changing the World: The Shape and Use of Psychoanalytic Tools Today 
July 22 thru July 25, 2015, Boston, MA - -

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Psychoanalysis Under Attack in Belguim - Act Now!

Dear Colleague,

The Belgian legislature is putting forward a proposal on the practice of psychotherapy in general and of psychoanalysis in particular. All the analytic associations organized under the umbrella of the FABEP (Belgian Psychoanalytic Federation) agreed on Sunday, October 20, on an "Appeal to the Belgian Parliament," and to circulate this document in the form of a petition for which... the signatures of analysts and friends of analysis would be solicited.

The major points of the proposed legislation are that:

 * Psychoanalysis be assimilated into psychotherapy;
* Psychoanalysis only be performed by physicians and psychologists
   following a 5400-hour training that will only be provided by universities;
* A High Council of Psychotherapy be created;
* The psychoanalyst and/or therapist who is not a physician establish a
   dossier for each patient and inform the treating physician of
   the "development of his/her health."

Psychoanalysis is in danger. If this legislation goes forward, psychoanalysis as such will become extinct. Every threat to psychoanalysis in another country or state is a threat to the independence and integrity of psychoanalysis everywhere.

This is why we are asking each of you to sign, and to get as many colleagues as possible to sign, this "Appeal to Parliament." It is for the future of psychoanalysis not only in Belgium but everywhere. We must get as many signatures as possible, as rapidly as possible.

Douglas F. Maxwell
NAAP President
80 Eighth Ave #1501
New York, NY 10011

Click below or paste the link below into your browser to sign the petition today! Make sure you check your inbox for a confirmation email afterward (which will be in Dutch). You must click on the confirmation link in the email otherwise your signature will not count.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Emerging Evidence for Long-Term Psychodynamic Therapy

The Emerging Evidence for Long-Term Psychodynamic Therapy.
Leichsenring F, Abbass A, Luyten P, Hilsenroth M, Rabung S.
Psychodynamic Psychiatry, 2013 Fall;41(3):361-84.

ABSTRACT:There is growing evidence from RCTs supporting the efficacy of both short-term (STPP) and long-term psychodynamic psychotherapy (LTPP) for specific mental disorders. In a first series of meta-analyses, LTPP was shown to be superior to shorter forms of psychotherapy, especially in complex mental disorders. However, the evidence for LTPP has not gone unchallenged. After several responses have addressed the raised concerns, a recent meta-analysis by Smit and colleagues (2012) again challenges the efficacy of LTPP.
METHOD: From a methodological perspective, a critical analysis of the Smit et al. meta-analysis was performed. Furthermore, we conducted two new meta-analyses adding studies not included in previous meta-analyses. The purpose was to examine whether the results of the previous meta-analyses are stable.

RESULTS: Due to differing inclusion criteria, the meta-analysis by Smit et al. actually compared LTPP to other forms of long-term psychotherapy. Thus, they essentially showed that LTPP was as efficacious as other forms of long-term therapy. For this reason the meta-analysis by Smit et al. does not question the results of previous meta-analyses showing that LTPP is superior to shorter forms of psychotherapy. In addition, the Smit et al. meta-analysis was shown to suffer from several methodological shortcomings. The new meta-analyses we performed did not find significant deviations from previous results. In complex mental disorders LTPP proved to be significantly superior to shorter forms of therapy corroborating results of previous meta-analyses.

CONCLUSIONS: Data on dose-effect relations suggest that for many patients with complex mental disorders, including chronic mental disorders and personality disorders, short-term psychotherapy is not sufficient. For these patients, long-term treatments may be indicated. The meta-analyses presented here provide further support for LTPP in these populations. Nevertheless, there is a need for more research in LTPP and other long-term psychotherapies.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Jon Sletvold - The Neuroscience of Freud's Body Ego

Abstract: Freud’s statement in The Ego and the Id (1923) that the ego is first and foremost a bodily ego is well known. This paper tempts to clarify the premises underlying Freud’s thesis. Particular attention is paid to Freud’s investigation of internal perceptions. Freud argued that internal perceptions are more primordial than perceptions arising externally. In Freud’s opinion the roots of the ego, the id, are to be found in body sensations and feelings, but he had to admit that very little was known about these sensations and feelings. Only much later was neuroscience in a position to offer evidence that feelings can be the direct perception of the internal state of the body. Antonio Damasio (2010) has recently suggested that the core of the self might be found in what he, like Freud, terms primordial feelings. Not only was Freud able to conceive of the ego as the perception and feeling of our own body but also to conceive of knowing the mental life of another by means of recreating the bodily state of another through imitation.

Jon Sletvold (2013) The ego and the id revisited: Freud and Damasio on the body ego/self. International Journal of Psychoanalysis, Vol. 94, pp. 1019-1032 


Sunday, November 3, 2013

Jean Knox - The Analyst's Capacity for Empathy

"So for the psychotherapist, empathy in its widest sense requires us to develop four different skills at the same time:
  • to allow emotional contagion, to share, through the countertransference, the shame and humiliation of the patient as a victim;
  • to be able to distance ourselves from that contagion, to take our own perspective and ‘feel for’ the patient, drawing on a range of affect-regulating approaches—an appropriate rescuer stance;
  • to bear and so contain the experience of being seen as and sometimes becoming an abuser without a defensive escape into a defensive and unhelpful rescuer position, and
  • finally to co-create a new relational experience in which both therapist and patient collaborate to ‘toggle’ between self and other perspectives, and in doing so, co-construct the intersubjective third.

All of these contribute to processes of rupture and repair that constitute the therapeutic conversation when working with early relational trauma." (p. 504-505)
Jean Knox (2013) ‘Feeling for’ and ‘feeling with’: developmental and neuroscientific perspectives on intersubjectivity and empathy.  Journal of Analytical Psychology, 2013, Vol. 58, pp. 491-509.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Hayuta Gurevich - Processing the Experience of Absence

Abstract: "...The concept of ‘absence’, which describes a continuum of non-responsiveness and misattunement of the environment in the stage of absolute dependence; it refers to concepts like lack, failure, non-recognition, impingement, neglect, tantalizing, ranging to mental, physical and sexual abuse. An extreme external absence causes shock and fear. The automatic survival response is an inner absence, an intrapsychic absence, a dissociation of parts of the self. The external and the inner absence are the negative image of each other. The concept of absence points to the synchronicity of outer and inner reality and portrays the non-responded-to needs of the self. This point of view of the development of psychopathology of the self on the basis of massive dissociation is inherently an intersubject-ive-field-theory. As the inner absence is created as a reaction to an absence of the other, in analysis — the analyst has an active role in reviving it. This paper will explore the language of absence, that is, the derivatives and consequences of these situations in the inner realm, and in the relations with the analyst. It is the author's contention that understanding and speaking this language has important clinical and technical implications. Understanding the language of absence enables the analyst to recognize its intersubjective and its intrapsychic presence, to provide an environment that allows for its revival, and to facilitate and regulate the annihilation anxiety that awakens when dissociated self-states are experienced. When the absence is present, i.e. when the traumatic experience and the dissociated reactions to it are experienced in an attuned relationship, it is rendered with meaning, symbolization, and validation, and enables the survival mode of dissociation to be relinquished." (p. 561)

Hayuta Gurevich (2008). The Language of Absence. International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, Vol. 89, pp. 561-578  

Friday, August 30, 2013

Leon Grinberg - Difference Between Countertransference and Projective Counteridentification

"Based on the complementary series of Freud, Racker (1960) described a countertransferential disposition on the one hand, and present and analytic experiences, on the other, which leads to the resulting countertransference. He added that this joining of the present and the past, of reality and fantasy, of the external and internal, etc, makes a concept necessary which envelops the whole of the psychological response of the analyst, and he advised that the term countertransference should be used. Nevertheless, he made it clear that, at times, one may speak of "total countertransference" and differentiate and separate within that term one or other aspect.
Racker emphasised the existance of a "countertransference neurosis" where the "Oedipal and pre-Oedipal conflicts, along with pathological processes (paranoid, depressive, manic, masochistic, etc.), interfere with understanding, interpretation and the behaviour of the analyst".
Racker made a particularly detailed analysis to two types of identification of the analyst with parts of the patient. Based on suggestions of H. Deutsch, he pointed out that the analyst, with his empathic tendency toward understanding everything which happens to the patient, is able to identify "each aspect of his own personality with its corresponding psychological part in his patient; his Id with the patient's Id, his ego with the patient's ego, his superego with the patient's superego, accepting in his conscience these identifications ". (my italics).
These are concordant or homologous identifications based, according to Racker, on introjection and projection, in the interaction of the external with the internal, with the recognition of the remote as his own ("this (you) is me"), and the association of his own with the remote ("that (me) is you"). "Concordant identifications" would be a reproduction of the analyst's own past processes which are being relieved in response to the stimulus of the patient, bringing about a sublimated positive countertransference which determines a greater degree of empathy.
The second type of identification, called "complementary identifications" are the results of the identifications of the analyst with internal objects of the patient; the analyst feels treated like those internal objects and he experiences them as his own.
Racker also described a "concordant countertransference" where there is an approximate identity between parts of the subject and parts of the object (experiences, impulses, defences); and a "complementary countertransference" where "an object relationship" can exist very similar to others, a true transference in which the analyst "repeats" earlier experiences. The patient now represents internal objects of the analyst.
It is here where I would like to outline the difference between Racker's countertransferential terms and my concept regarding "projective counteridentification".
To begin with, confusion only arises with regard to the difference between "projective counteridentification" and "complementary countertransference". "Concordant countertransferences" are related to the empathic link towards the patient, the desire to understand him and deal with identifications which are accepted in the analyst's conscience. It is worth mentioning that they almost depend on an active disposition on the analyst's part.
Let us therefore see what is the essential difference between "complementary countertransference" and "projective counteridentification". "Complementary countertransference" arises when the analyst identifies himself with the internal objects of the patient and experiences them as his own internal objects. Racker emphasizes the fact that the analyst repeats previous experiences in which the patient represents the internal objects of the analyst. The last experiences (which always and continuously exist) could be called "complementary countertransferences".
This countertransference reaction is therefore based on an emotional attitude which is due to neurotic remnants in the analyst, reactivated by the conflicts posed by the patient. It appears in the first situation of process B which I have described above, in which the analyst is the object of the patient's projections, e.g. his internal objects; but he reacts countertransferentially because of his own anxieties and the reactivation of his own conflicts with his internal objects.
On the other hand, "projective counteridentification" corresponds to the second situation of process B. The analyst's reaction stems, for the most part, independently of his own conflicts and corresponds in a predominant or exclusive way to the intensity and quality of the patient's projective identification. In this case, the origin of the process comes from the patient and not the analyst. It is the patient who, in an unconscious and regressive manner, and because of the specific functional psychopathic modality of his projective identification, actively provokes a determined emotional response in the analyst which the analyst will receive and feel in a passive way. (Grinberg, 1963a).
In "complementary countertransference" a reaction always arises which corresponds to the analyst's own conflicts. On the other hand, in "projective counteridentification" the analyst takes onto himself a reaction or a feeling which comes from the patient.
To clarify this point, I will use one of Racker's examples. It is the case of a patient who threatens the analyst with commiting suicide. Racker writes: The anxiety which such a threat aparks off in the analyst can lead to various reactions or defence mechanisms within him, e.g. a dislike of the patient. These feelings, the anxiety and the loathing, would be the contents of the "complementary countertransference". His awareness of dislike or loathing towards the patient can also bring about, at the same time, a guilt feeling in the analyst which can lead to desires of reparation and to the intensification of "concordant identification and concordant countertransference". (Racker, 1960)

Now, if we analyse this extract we find both processes superimposed on each other or co-existing simultaneously. (This usually happens.) The analyst experiences anxiety in the face of the suicidal threat. In this anxiety, two main components are evident: one corresponds to the analyst's own anxiety due to the feeling of responsibility which he has, when confronted with the eventual danger of suicide of his patient which, at the same time, may represent one of the analyst's internal objects. (It can be the patient's internal object which is being experienced as one of the analyst's own internal objects). This form of anxiety corresponds to a "complementary countertransference". On the other hand, the analyst takes onto himself the patient's specific anxiety which, through projective identification, the patient placed in him with the idea of the analyst controlling and eventually resolving it. This response of anxiety now forms part of "projective counteridentification". Later the analyst reacts with dislike (his own mechanism, belonging to "complementary countertransference") and guilt. If we analyze further this kind of guilt, we find that part of it has a persecutory characteristic, i.e., "persecutory guilt" (Grinberg, 1963b). This brings about the dislike for also having embodied (although in a partial way), the impotence and desperation of the patient and his fear of not being able to make a reparation. Another part of this guilt belongs to the "depressive guilt" (Grinberg, 1963b) which the patient is still not able to perceive nor manage, and which, projected into the analyst, makes the analyst feel able to make a reparation. These last considerations with regard to the patient's projection of the two types of guilt and the analyst's response, demonstrate how "projective counteridentification" works. However, it does not include the two qualities of guilt which the analyst may feel, due to his own conflicts which are reactivated by the material presented by the patient ("complementary countertransference).
Naturally, these processes are never pure nor are they isolated; they generally co-exist in different proportions.
When mentioning other examples, Racker maintains that a transferential paranoid-depressive state of the patient corresponds to a "manic-countertransferential state" of the analyst, in the aspects of "complementary countertransference". He is implying the co-existance of the two mechanisms. The analyst may react manically because of his own conflicts which make him feel strong or dominant when confronted by a depressed object; or because he has taken onto himself the manic and triumphant attitude of the patient which, due to the special use of projective identification has "placed" him in that position.
Through "complementary countertransference", each analyst identifying himself with his patient's internal object, will react in a personal way according to the type and nature of his own conflicts. Different analysts will react differently to the same situation, posed by a hypothetical patient. On the other hand, this hypothetical patient using his projective identification in a particularly intense and specific way could bring about the same countertransferential response ("projective counteridentification") in different analysts. I had the opportunity to confirm this through the supervision of material of a patient who had been in analysis succesively with various analysts.
In the way a transferential attitude begs a countertransferential response, a projective identification will also beg a specific projective counteridentification. Although the analyst introjects, albeit passively, this projective identification, what is important to recognize is that the specific reaction of the analyst is due to the way in which the patient projected, lodged or "forced" into the analyst his projective identification.
Furthermore, the "projective counteridentification" will have different modalities related to the respective modalities of the projective identification, coloured by the qualitative shading which gives it a functional specificity. Habitually, in all extra verbal communication, the type of functioning (degree and quality) of projective identification on the part of the patient does not go over the critical threshold of the analyst and the extra verbal message produces countertransferential resonance. It stimulates the response which could be received, controlled and verbalised with relative ease by the analyst. But, on certain occasions in which the degree and quality of the projective identification influence its functional modality in a special way, the result is that the extra verbal communication will pass over the critical threshold, producing "projective counteridentification". This threshold will depend on, in each case, the personality of the analyst, on his previous analysis and the degree of knowledge or awareness he has regarding this phenomenon. (Grinberg, 1976).
I also think that sometimes the analyst, when faced with an excessive projective identification on the part of the patient may respond with a paranoid attitude which will bring about a counterresistance and which will undoubtedly affect his work.
"Projective identification and counteridentification" phenomena are frequent in the analysis of narcissistic and borderline personalities, and give rise to a pathogenic interaction between the analyst and patient which is not easy to resolve. One might say that what was projected, by means of the psychopathic modality of projective identification, operates within the object as a parasitic superego which omnipotently induces the analyst's ego to act or feel what the patient wanted him to act or feel in his unconscious fantasy. I think that, to some degree, this is similar to the hypnotic phenomenon as described by Freud (1921) in which the hypnotist places himself in the position of the ego ideal and a sort of paralysis appears as a result of the influence of an omnipotent individual upon an impotent and helpless being. I believe the same idea applies, sometimes, to the process I am discussing. The analyst, being unaware of what happened, may resort to all kind of rationalizations to justify his attitude or his bewilderment just as the hypnotised person does after executing hypnotic suggestions.
When the analyst is able to overcome this reaction, he may take advantage of this phenomenon so as to clarify some of the patient's unconscious fantasies and emotions making an adequate interpretation possible." (pp. 232- 235)
Leon Grinberg (1979). Countertransference and Projective Counteridentification. Contemporary Psychoanalysis, Vol. 15, pp. 226-247

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Giles Clark - Psychoid Substance as a Mutual Experience

"In 1946, Jung put forward a hypothesis of a ‘psychoid’ level or quality of the unconscious psyche; he wrote, ‘Since psyche and matter are contained in one and the same world, and moreover are in continuous contact with one another and ultimately rest on irrepresentable, transcendental factors, it is not only possible but fairly probable even that psyche and matter are two different aspects of one and the same thing’(Jung 1947, para, 418). He returned to this dual-aspect idea again several times, and in Mysterium Coniunctionis he wrote that ‘deepest down of all, [is] the paradox of the sympathetic and parasympathetic psychoid processes’ (Jung 1955-56, para. 279).
In my title I have used the expression ‘psychoid substance’. Since the meaning of ‘substance’ is not axiomatic, and since I am using it idiosyncratically in a way that is connected to my use of the ‘psychoid’, I need to say that by substance I do not mean either an essence or a thing, or not only. I am using the word ‘substance’ in a Spinozist/neo-Spinozist metaphysical sense, by which I mean the idea of a fundamental unity (not union) underlying two ‘attributes’ of (= attitudes to, aspects or experiences of) that basic unity — which is here ‘the psychoid’. The two ‘attributes are psyche/soma, or psychic/somatic. But more psychologically, I understand this psychoid substance as being dynamic (substantiating) and having to do with the making of internal and interpersonal relations (consubstantiating). (Finally, I think it might be phenomenologically useful to render ‘the psychoid’ as an adjective or adverb: a consubstantiating psychoid energy, which is experienced psychoidly (psychosomatically) inside and between us — perhaps most evidently in psychotic experience and relations.)
I am here suggesting that the psychoid is not only to do with an individual, intrapsychic level of life, but also has to do with an area of experience where bodily sensations are symbolic, sometimes represented through very primitive sensations, proto-symbols and psychosomatic metacommunications which are felt both inside us and also simultaneously around us in relationships. For example in experiences of participation mystique, through projective identifications, extractive introjections (Bollas 1987b) and in other processes of personal and interpersonal psychic contamination and infection which are also somatically affective. These experiences painfully unite us in something we unconsciously make together, arising out of an as yet unmet need to share in something undeveloped and uncoordinated.
My experience of relations which most fully display what I am going to try to describe are found in clinical work with deeply regressed patients where the capacity to distinguish inner and outer, subject and object, fantasy and reality, etc., are all very unclear; in other words in borderline or psychotic relations, where the analyst is necessarily ‘used’ as a psychotic object by the disturbed patient. This is where the primitive and almost pre-human nature of events (and therefore animal/animating events) is experienced in its preverbal, pre-thinking state. Actually, I would rather say in a state of chaos or disorder, destroying words and thinking, and of raw emotions and sensations of bodily illness, though not necessarily in actual organic illness.
Later, I shall use a case example to demonstrate how, in work with regressed patients, pre-whole-person symbols and sensations are transferred by projective identification into the analyst. The analyst can then be infected and used at the level of the autonomic nervous system, sensed vitally through animal imagery and somatic symptoms (in dreams and illness). This is an embodied countertransference in which we find what I call a consubstantiating ‘animating body’. It is a primitive and bestial ‘psychoid environment’ made between us, around us and inside us. It is the analyst's task to sort us out of this mixed-up and over-embodied world, so that we are eventually able to separate into different but related personal identities.
Therefore in this paper I am in a way doing what I try to do in the regressed analytic situation, namely to understand, find words for, bring order to and communicate in such a way that together we can make our way out of this wordless, thoughtless psychotic disorder. In the clinical situation I am going to describe, we shall see how this is a matter of using my attacked and infected embodied countertransference, or embodied aspects of identification, to understand and make sense of the patient's (and therefore partly my) deep psychosomatic disorder.
I need here to make two points for the sake of clarity:

1. Although what I am talking about is about somatizing where the symbolizing function has got confused and therefore stuck at an early stage, it is also about the natural and necessary pre-differentiated psychosomatic stage and state, so to speak a natural archetypal aspect of our nature, where our psychoid and psychotic metaphysics originate and live.
2. Above all, it is about the paradoxical experience of oneness or intimacy and mutuality in non-blissful, disharmonious relations, in conditions of attack, fragmentation, chaotic dissociation and incomprehension, which I see as necessary metacommunications of disorder which have to be shared in order to be understood and sorted out: a sort of psychic chaos theory." (pp. 353-354)
Giles Clark (1996). The Animating Body: Psychoid substance as a mutual experience of psychosoma. Journal of Analytical Psychology, Vol. 41, pp. 353-368  

Editor's Note

Dear Readers:

I apologize for the interruption in new posts during the past month.  Writing commitments and the meeting of the International Association for Analytical Psychology in Copenhagen, Denmark have taken up all of my time during the past month.  Regular postings will now resume.  Thank you for your ongoing interest in the ideas presented in The Psychoanalytic Muse.

Best Wishes,

Mark Winborn, PhD, NCPsyA
Editor - The Psychoanalytic Muse

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Psychoanalytic Muse Editor - Mark Winborn Discusses Deep Blues on Shrink Rap Radio

Dr. Dave Van Nuys interviews Fisher King Press author Mark Winborn, PhD about his book Deep Blues: Human Soundscapes for the Archetypal Journey on his podcast show Shrink Rap Radio.  Dr. Dave interviews a wide range of therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, and psychoanalysts across a broad  range of subjects.  The interview can be listened to here: Winborn Interview or on ITunes.

In the interview, Dr. Winborn discusses the experiences that drew him to Jungian analytic work, his interest in the blues, various themes in the book, and a brief overview of the three main schools of Analytical Psychology.

Deep Blues explores the archetypal journey of the human psyche through an examination of the blues as a musical genre. The genesis, history, and thematic patterns of the blues are examined from an archetypal perspective and various analytic theories – especially the interaction between Erich Neumann’s concept of unitary reality and the blues experience.  Mythological and shamanistic parallels are used to provide a deeper understanding of the role of the bluesman, the blues performance, and the innate healing potential of the music.  Universal aspects of human experience and transcendence are revealed through the creative medium of the blues. The atmosphere of Deep Blues is enhanced by the black and white photographs of Tom Smith which capture striking blues performances in the Maxwell Street section of Chicago.  Jungian analysts, therapists and psychoanalytic practitioners with an interest in the interaction between creative expression and human experience should find Deep Blues satisfying.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Stephen Frosh New Release - Hauntings: Psychoanalysis and Ghostly Transmissions

Despite the evocative title, Hauntings: Psychoanalysis and Ghostly Transmissions is not about the supernatural world which the movie, television, and fiction industries seem so preoccupied with of late.  Hauntings: Psychoanalysis and Ghostly Transmissions utilizes the notion of ghosts and haunting to show how the present is troubled by the past and by the future.  Frosh uses the image of haunting as a metaphor to explore psychoanalytically how identities, beliefs, intimacies and hatreds are transmitted across generations and between people. This book deals with the secrets that we inherit, the 'pull' of the past, and the way emotions, thoughts and impulses enter into us from others as a kind of immaterial yet real communication, both individually and collectively. The book demonstrates how past oppressions return, demanding acknowledgement and reparation, and explores how recognition and forgiveness can arise from this. Rooted in psychoanalysis, postcolonial, philosophical and psychosocial studies, Frosh addresses the question of what passes through and between human subjects and how these things structure social and psycho-political life.  Frosh addresses these issues in chapters titled: 1) Psychoanalysis as a Ghostly System, 2) Facing the Truth about Ourselves, 3) Ghostly Psychoanalysis, 4) The Evil Eye, 5) Telepathy, 6) Transmission, and 7) Forgiveness.
Being familiar with Frosh's work from previous publications, this book delivers again with crisp, insightful writing that is a rewarding read.  Hauntings is thought provoking for the practicing analyst or psychoanalytic therapist but also for the reader who is interested in the intersection of psychoanalysis and culture as well as those interested in what insights a socio-political-cultural perspective can bring to psychoanalysis.
STEPHEN FROSH is Pro-Vice-Master and Professor in the Department of Psychosocial Studies at Birkbeck College, University of London, UK. He is the author of many books and papers on psychosocial studies and on psychoanalysis, including Psychoanalysis Outside the Clinic, Hate and the Jewish Science: Anti-Semitism, Nazism and Psychoanalysis, For and Against Psychoanalysis, After Words, The Politics of Psychoanalysis and Sexual Difference and Identity Crisis. His most recent books are Feelings and A Brief Introduction to Psychoanalytic Theory.
Published January 25th, 2013 by Palgrave MacMillan. 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Meira Likierman - Aesthetic Experience in Analysis

Conclusion: "This paper puts forwards a thesis on the origin of the aesthetic/creative human capacity. In doing so, two psychoanalytic theories are first examined. One is Freud's 'sublimation' theory, the other, the Kleinian attribution of art to depressive processes. Both are felt to be unsatisfactory in that the aesthetic is viewed as a secondary phenomenon, and linked to the mastering of primitive trends.

By contrast, this paper postulates that the aesthetic experience originates at the beginning of life, and owes its nature to the earliest 'good' experiences. Since these are 'split off' they have no conceptual, relative or temporal boundaries. They are therefore assumed to be in the nature of a 'sublime infinity'.

During 'depressive' integration the infant transfers a forceful, early aesthetic experience on to a perception of a whole good/bad world. Reality is thus viewed from the vantage point of aesthetic order rather than meaningless fragmentation." (p. 149)

Meira Likierman  (1989). Clinical Significance of Aesthetic Experience. Int. Rev. Psycho-Anal., 16:133-150