Thursday, January 31, 2013

New Overview of Robert Langs' Communicative-Adaptive Model of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy

John White, MA, PhD - psychotherapist, philosopher, and analytic candidate with the Inter-Regional Society of Jungian Analysts - has published a comprehensive overview of the work of Robert Langs on Wikipedia.  Langs is a prolific author (more than 175 scholarly articles and 47 books) on a variety of psychoanalytic subjects and the founder of the "communicative-adaptive" school of psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic psychotherapy.  The overview surveys the four major phases in the development of Langs' work as well as summarizing important concepts in Langs' model and his recent directions.  The article can be viewed at  White's overview is a useful addition for those desiring to gain a better understanding of Langs' work and his significant contributions to the field of psychoanalytic thought.  Langs is perhaps best known for his rigorous emphasis on establishing and maintaining a secure frame for analysis, his development of the concept of the bi-personal field, and his extensive documentation of encoded transference derivatives in the analytic interaction. 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Irwin Hoffman - The Patient as Interpreter of the Analyst's Experience

"The therapist's analytic task, his tendency toward understanding on the one hand, and his countertransference reactions on the other, often create a sense of real conflict as part of his total experience of the relationship. I think this conflict is invariably a part of what the patient senses about the therapist's response. In fact one subtle type of asocial conception of the patient's experience in psychoanalysis is one which implies that from the patient's point of view the analyst's experience is simple rather than complex, and unidimensional rather than multifaceted. The analyst is considered to be simply objective, or critical, or seductive, or threatened, or nurturant, or empathic. Any truly social conception of the patient's experience in psychoanalysis grants that the patient can plausibly infer a variety of more or less harmonious or conflictual tendencies in the analyst, some of which the patient would imagine were conscious and some of which he would think were unconscious. In such a model, the patient as interpreter understands that, however different it is, the analyst's experience is no less complex than his own." (p. 420)

Irwin Z. Hoffman (1983). The Patient as Interpreter of the Analyst's Experience. Contemporary Psychoanalysis, Vol. 19, pp. 389-422

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Kenneth Lambert - Comparison of Psychoanalytic and Jungian Views on Resistence

Summary of the Psychoanalytic Development

"In psychoanalysis then, the development of the concept of resistance has proceeded in the following order:

1. Resistance is a defence against anticipated emotional discomfort expressed by a refusal of the method of freeassociation, a refusal of interpretations and adherence to ‘loving’ transference used as a defence against free associating and any serious consideration of the analyst's interpretations.

2. Resistance is mobilized as a defence against the loss of primary and secondary gains from illness and against any modifications of the power of id and superego.

3. Resistance uses the defences described by Anna Freud against interpretations feared as likely to disturb the status quo or the basic equilibrium of the patient.

4. Resistance is described by Glover in terms of methods employed by the patient defined as I. Crass resistance and 2. Unobtrusive resistance. The latter would also include the ‘head-resistance’ first described by Helen Deutsch.

5. Object relations theory and the work of Klein and Winnicott directs the study of resistance into analysis of the transference-countertransference in respect of the analyst resisted as a part-object and later a whole person.

6. Resistance is defined by Schafer as the patient's response not only to paternal but also maternal authority, as well as any activity of the analyst that might disturb the totality of the patient's personality. The analysis of the patient's resistance should give full recognition to its affirmative as well as its negative aspects.

7. Racker's study of resistance/counter-resistance brings out the importance of the analyst's counter-resistance in helping him to understand the resistance of the patient particularly when it operates as a support to inte-grative processes within the latter's personality as a whole.

8. Winnicott, indebted to both psychoanalysis and Kleinian psychology, has shown how different is the significance of resistance in the case of deeply regressed patients where the release and nurture of the true self is essential. At this point the paradox is that to resist the normal interpretative efforts of the analyst may indicate a real cooperation with him at the level that matters."

Summary of Jung's View of Resistance

"Jung's description of resistance is less full and differentiated than Freud's— not distinguishing defence and resistance and sometimes speaking of a continual mood of the latter as a life-style. Nevertheless we find him early in his development emphasizing resistance to the analyst as a person. This personal aspect pervades the whole of Jung, as does the tremendous importance of resistance and the need not to attempt to break down the resistance but rather respect it. His emphasis was that resistance is an indication that a faulty attitude or approach or view of the patient's problem is being held or made by the analyst. He also respected the patient's resistance to the transference when it was archetypally determined and felt to be overwhelming.

Jung, as is often the case, is strong where psychoanalysis has been slower and more fumbling—namely in terms of his emphasis upon the resistance as that of one person, the patient, to another, the analyst, and the need to respect and carefully analyse the homeostatic and other aspects of resistance. He is less strong in the detailed study of resistance in terms of method and content, that has been carried out by the psychoanalysts. On the other hand his emphasis upon the resistance of unconscious archetypal potentiality to analysis and consciousintegration represents a unique contribution to the subject." (pp. 177-178)

Kenneth Lambert (1976). Resistance and Counter-Resistance. Journal of Analytical Psychology, Vol. 21, pp. 164-192

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Wilfred Bion - Influence of Projective Identification in Group Analysis

"In group treatment many interpretations, and amongst them the most important, have to be made on the strength of the analyst's own emotional reactions… these reactions are dependent on the fact that the analyst in the group is at the receiving end of what Melanie Klein has called projective identification . . .The analyst feels he is being manipulated so as to be playing a part, no matter how difficult to recognize, in somebody else's phantasy… the experience consists of two closely related phases: in the first there is a feeling that whatever else one has done, one has certainly not given a correct interpretation; in the second phase there is a sense of being a particular kind of person in a particular emotional situation. I believe ability to shake oneself out of the numbing feeling of reality that is a concomitant of this state is the prime requisite of the analyst in the group." (p. 149)

Wilfred Bion (1961). Experiences in Groups. London, Tavistock

Sunday, January 20, 2013

James Strachey - Comments on Mutative Interpretation

"I shall first of all give a schematized outline of what I understand by a mutative interpretation, leaving the details to be filled in afterwards; and, with a view to clarity of exposition, I shall take as an instance the interpretation of a hostile impulse. By virtue of his power (his strictly limited power) as auxiliary superego, the analyst gives permission for a certain small quantity of the patient's id-energy (in our instance, in the form of an aggressive impulse) to become conscious.11 Since the analyst is also, from the nature of things, the object of the patient's id-impulses, the quantity of these impulses which is now released into consciousness will become consciously directed towards the analyst. This is the critical point. If all goes well, the patient's ego will become aware of the contrast between the aggressive character of his feelings and the real nature of the analyst, who does not behave like the patient's 'good' or 'bad' archaic objects. The patient, that is to say, will become aware of a distinction between his archaic phantasy object and the real external object. The interpretation has now become a mutative one, since it has produced a breach in the neurotic vicious circle. For the patient, having become aware of the lack of aggressiveness in the real external object, will be able to diminish his own aggressiveness; the new object which he introjects will be less aggressive, and consequently the aggressiveness of his superego will also be diminished. As a further corollary to these events, and simultaneously with them, the patient will obtain access to the infantile material which is being re-experienced by him in his relation to the analyst.

Such is the general scheme of the mutative interpretation. You will notice that in my account the process appears to fall into two phases. I am anxious not to pre-judge the question of whether these two phases are in temporal sequence or whether they may not really be two simultaneous aspects of a single event. But for descriptive purposes it is easier to deal with them as though they were successive. First, then, there is the phase in which the patient becomes conscious of a particular quantity of id-energy as being directed towards the analyst; and secondly there is the phase in which the patient becomes aware that this id-energy is directed towards an archaic phantasy object and not towards a real one." (p. 283)

"I shall have occasion to return to this point for a moment later on, but I must now proceed to the mention of one further quality which it seems necessary for an interpretation to possess before it can be mutative, a quality which is perhaps only another aspect of the one we have been describing. A mutative interpretation must be 'specific': that is to say, detailed and concrete. This is, in practice, a matter of degree. When the analyst embarks upon a given theme, his interpretations cannot always avoid being vague and general to begin with; but it will be necessary eventually to work out and interpret all the details of the patient's phantasy system. In proportion as this is done the interpretations will be mutative, and much of the necessity for apparent repetitions of interpretations already made is really to be explained by the need for filling in the details. I think it possible that some of the delays which despairing analysts attribute to the patient's id-resistance could be traced to this source. It seems as though vagueness in interpretation gives the defensive forces of the patient's ego the opportunity, for which they are always on the lookout, of baffling the analyst's attempt at coaxing an urgent id-impulse into consciousness. A similarly blunting effect can be produced by certain forms of reassurance, such as the tacking on to an interpretation of an ethnological parallel or of a theoretical explanation: a procedure which may at the last moment turn a mutative interpretation into a non-mutative one. The apparent effect may be highly gratifying to the analyst; but later experience may show that nothing of permanent use has been achieved or even that the patient has been given an opportunity for increasing the strength of his defences. Here we have evidently reached a topic discussed not long ago by Edward Glover in one of the very few papers in the whole literature which seriously attacks the problem of interpretation(1931). Glover argues that, whereas a blatantly inexact interpretation is likely to have no effect at all, a slightly inexact one may have a therapeutic effect of a non-analytic, or rather anti-analytic, kind by enabling the patient to make a deeper and more efficient repression. He uses this as a possible explanation of a fact that has always seemed mysterious, namely, that in the earlier days of analysis, when much that we now know of the characteristics of the unconscious was still undiscovered, and when interpretation must therefore often have been inexact, therapeutic results were nevertheless obtained." (p. 286)

James Strachey (1969). The Nature of the Therapeutic Action of Psychoanalysis. International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, Vol. 50, pp. 275-292

Editor's Note: This paper was originally published in the Int. J. Psycho-Anal. (1934), 15, 127–159 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

John Haule - Development of the Self

“Probably the self becomes established, in most cases, through a participation mystique with the mother. A child is born into a space and time in which every person, object, and event is saturated with the feeling-tones of the mother's world. The pre-imagistic ground of the child's world will be established when the child is allowed to be a co-agent in the life-world in which it mystically participates with the mother. This will inevitably involve the ‘grandiose fantasies’ of which Kohut speaks, for in ‘the archetypal world of childhood’ (as Neumann calls it) to be a co-agent with the mother is tantamount to being vice-regent with God (in Islam, the dignity of the human individual rests in great part, on his being God's vice-regent, kahlifah, in completing the work of creation). For the co-agent, the participated world is a secure space/time continuum in which achievement, self-realisation, loving encounter, and all the normal human functions are learned.” (p. 264)

John Haule (1983). Archetype and Integration. Journal of Analytical Psychology, Vol. 28, pp. 253-267

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Mary Tennes - The Transpersonal Dimensions of the Psychoanalytic Encounter

"My interest is in the inherently transpersonal dimension of the psychoanalytic encounter itself. Contemporary approaches are, I believe, reaching toward the recognition that there are aspects of the psychoanalytic relationship that only a transpersonal context can contain. My purpose, therefore, is neither to highlight particular content which our patients bring in nor to supplement psychoanalytic theory with spiritual traditions. Rather, my hope is to expand the lens through which we view our work so that we are able to see more of what is already there. In this sense, the transpersonal dimension could be said to be "the unthought known" (Bollas, 1987) of psychoanalysis itself—that which lies beneath the surface of what can be expressed and so is deeply embedded in all that we do yet simultaneously is not within our consciousness. Having chosen as our professional activity the pursuit of the unknowable and the unthinkable, we must take the opportunity to explore that which in ourselves and in our field lies only on the cusp of awareness.

To locate the transpersonal dimension within a psychoanalytic framework, it is useful to examine the history of psychoanalytic constructs describing the relationship of self and other. represents a necessarily oversimplified attempt to portray this development visually. Each figure within the diagram conveys a theoretical assumption about relational experience, about the nature of the self, and therefore about the therapeutic relationship as well. The theoretical evolution portrayed by the first four figures reveals the significant conceptual shifts that have marked recent decades. Whereas classical approaches (Figure 1) established a firm boundary between self and other, contemporary

Diagram 1

theory (Figures 2-4) has moved progressively toward the notion that self and other cannot be so neatly delineated. Yet, as the diagram indicates, despite an increasingly nondualistic conceptualization of the relationship between self and other, the need to place a firm boundary (as represented by the solid line) somewhere characterizes all four models. Even intersubjective approaches (Figure 4), with their attention to the permeability of the therapist's subjective experience, maintain a boundaried notion of the field by focusing their lens on that which is created and evoked between therapist and patient, but not beyond them. And it is this need for a circumscribed view of selfhood—perhaps the most powerful remnant of both the classical ideal and the Newtonian world view within which it developed—that defines the edge of our current paradigm. For as long as our theory requires that the boundaries of the self must to some extent be absolute, it cannot adequately encompass the full range of the analytic mystery. Thus, while leading us into new territory, our theory is at the same time restricted in its capacity to describe the landscape.

Figure 5 is an attempt to portray visually a model of selfhood that resists this need for certainty. Of course, such a model, like language itself, can never adequately convey the vast, mysterious, and indefinable nature of the transpersonal and so becomes inevitably reductionistic. I use it, therefore, primarily in an effort to highlight what is missing within the contemporary paradigm, specifically a model in which self and other, subject and object, both are and are not separate. The figure is meant to point to the radical leap involved in entering into transpersonal territory, namely, the willingness to move out of identification with the personal psyche alone. To be most accurate, these five figures, rather than being distinct, could be visualized as superimposed so that each is inherent in the other, reflecting a particular dimension of self-experience. The transpersonal, in other words, is not a separate dimension, as this figure might seem to imply. My purpose in delineating it is purely as a conceptual device so that we may examine more directly what is outside of the scope of our current theory.

Within a transpersonal framework, then, we move beyond intersubjectivity into a larger and more encompassing field. While acknowledging that we can never escape the structures of our own subjectivity, the transpersonal paradigm points as well to an objective ground of being that requires our recognition. In the same way that, at a personal level, the self must move past its own omnipotence into an encounter with the externality of the object, at a transpersonal level, the personal self must encounter ontological otherness—that which is beyond the personal altogether. From this perspective, personal selfhood is not the center of the psychological universe but is, rather, an individual manifestation of the transpersonal ground of being that always exists apart from, yet informs, any individual identity. As a symbol of infinity itself, Figure 5 points to the inevitably paradoxical and dialectical relationship that exists between the limited, finite, and subjective self and the unlimited, infinite, and objective ground of being of which it partakes.

Thus, in contrast to established psychoanalytic models that see the idea of ontological otherness (and its subjective manifestation in spiritual experiences of God) as a product of subjective structures, the transpersonal model sees the recognition of an objective ground of being as the only means to orient the self adequately in its development. Of all psychoanalytic writers, Bion came closest to this view in his description of O, or ultimate reality...

Contemporary psychoanalytic theory, with its description of the field between patient and therapist as a "third" presence, acknowledges at an intersubjective level the need to orient toward something "other." Within the literature examples abound of therapists who discover the surprisingly direct correspondence between that which arises within the field and the patient's developmental requirements. Recent approaches have led us to recognize that the patient's capacity to shed the deeply compelling patterns of his or her history depends on the therapist's awareness of the field as well as his or her capacity to relate to whatever arises within it as inevitably meaningful.

But our theory has stopped short of the leap that must be taken if we are to do justice to this recognition: namely, to see the direct correspondence between internal and external worlds as they meet each other in an all-inclusive field. When absolute boundaries drop away, all the factual realities that the patient must encounter, including the therapist's idiosyncratic self-structure, the specific circumstances of the analysis, and the patient's particular life situations, paradoxically provide both access to and means out of entrenched object relational binds. Thus, in contrast to the postmodern view that circumstantial realities achieve meaning only through our subjective constructions of them, the transpersonal model holds that meaning also arises as we are able to surrender (Ghent, 1990; Tennes, 1993) to the particular circumstances of our fate. Not only does the self use the environment to find its fullest expression, but, at the same time, the environment leads the self toward that which needs to be known. The mystery at the heart of psychoanalysis resides in this interchange between inner and outer domains.
" (pp. 512-516)

Mary Tennes (2007). Beyond Intersubjectivity: The Transpersonal Dimensions of the Psychoanalytic Encounter. Contemporary Psychoanalysis, Vol. 43, pp. 505-525


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Heinrich Racker - The Impact of the Analyst's Counterresistance on Interpretation

"This paper deals with the resistances which may arise in the analyst against communicating to the patient points he has observed or comprehended. These "counterresistances" indicate (as do the patient's resistances against communicating certain thoughts) the most important conflicts within the patient. For the counterresistances are as a rule the expression of the analyst's identification with the patient's resistances, even though they may at the same time be related to a conflict within the analyst.

The patient's resistance to an interpretation shows, according to Freud, that the latter has been incomplete. Analogously, the counterresistance to giving an interpretation means that the understanding it embodies is as yet incomplete. The cause of these counterresistances thus often lies in the fact that the understanding in question embraced only part of the patient's personality. The understanding may, for instance, have referred to the id, without having taken the ego sufficiently into consideration, or may have referred to an aggressive tendency of the patient's without having included the reaction of his libidinal wishes.

The importance of the analyst's perceiving these counterresistances and overcoming them may be essential, for they are usually responses of his to decisive transference conflicts within the patient. Besides, the postponement of interpretations, deemed premature, also frequently is due to these counterresistances. In such cases, these interpretations are not really "premature, " but simply incomplete. By completing them, considerable loss of time may be avoided.

The means whereby such counterresistances are to be overcome follows from the above: discovering what had been overlooked in the patient's personality, i.e., the cause of the patient's resistance which the analyst had already sensed and echoed in his own counterresistance.
" (p. 221)


Heinrich Racker (1958). Counterresistance and Interpretation. Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association,Vol. 6, pp. 215-221


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Edward Edinger: The Ego-Self Axis

In what follows we shall be using three terms repeatedly to describe different forms of relatedness between ego and self. These terms should perhaps be introduced at the outset. They are: ego-self identity, ego-self separation, and ego-self axis. The meaning of these terms is indicated by the following figures representing progressive stages in the relationship between ego and self.
FIG. 1
FIG. 2
FIG. 3 Fig. 4
These diagrams represent progressive stages of ego-self separation appearing in the course of psychological development. The shaded ego areas designate the residual ego-self identity. The dotted line connecting ego-centre with self-centre represents the ego-self axis—the vital connecting link between ego and self that ensures the integrity of the ego....
Clinical observation leads one to the conclusion that the integrity and stability of the ego depend in all stages of development on a living connection with the self....

Damage to the ego-self axis leads to ego-self alienation. In this condition the ego loses, to a greater or lesser extent, its vital contact with the self—the ego's origin and source of energy and stability. Although ego-self alienation and ego-self separation often occur together, I think it is important to make a clear distinction between them. Ego-self separation ideally leads to a progressive reduction of ego-self identity without damage to the ego-self axis and eventually to consciousness of that axis. Ego-self alienation, however, damages the ego-self axis and causes an arrest or hindrance of growth....

Although for descriptive purposes it is helpful to distinguish ego-self separation from ego-self alienation, in practice they always occur together in some measure. This may be due to the fact that in early phases of development the ego-self axis is completely unconscious and therefore cannot be distinguished from the area of ego-self identity. Thus, any disturbing confrontation with reality that alters the latter is likely to affect the former. On the other hand, in psychotherapy, when the ego-self axis is undergoing repair, this simultaneously activates the remaining ego-self identity.....

I have attempted to differentiate two aspects of the relationship between ego and self. One aspect, strictly speaking, is not relationship at all but rather primitive inflated identity of ego and self deriving from the original infantile state of wholeness. The other aspect has been called, after Neumann, the ego-self axis and refers to the vital connecting link between self and ego which maintains the latter's functional autonomy. The process of psychotherapy and psychic development in general seems to alternate between (i) manifestations of ego-self identity, which require reductive criticism, and (ii) the need for enhancing or repairing the ego-self axis, which calls for a synthetic supporting approach.....Since ego cannot exist without the support of the self and the self apparently needs the ego to realize it, psychic development can be considered a continuous process of dialectic between ego and self leading paradoxically to both greater separation and greater intimacy.

Edward Edinger (1960). The Ego-Self Paradox. Journal of Analytical Psychology, Vol. 5, pp. 3-18