August 06, 2003

Where the road ends

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We'll take another break from our project of assimilating psychoanalytic theory to the metapsychology of the Cube of Space and get our bearings by looking at the map of the development of analytic theory over the past century.

We have defined the psychological development of psychoanalytic thinking as its resistance to intersubjectivity, or the Other in its own unconscious.

So far, we've looked at the central concepts of projective identification, part and whole self and object relations, transitional space and splitting and dissociation. Ahead are the theoretical and therapeutic consequences of these extensions of psychoanalytic theory toward the Other.

Psyche Matters by Cheryl Martin contains a wealth of psychoanalytic references and literature.

The Psychoanalytic Classics page is interesting for its shortness (even when padded with every work in the Standard Edition) and the absence of any new classics in the last 20 years (Grotstein and Hinselwood are codifications and extensions of Klein and Bion). The list really ends with Searles, Gill, Schafer and Langs at the end of the Seventies or mid-Eighties if you stretch it. With Laplanche and Pontalis representing the therapeutically-starved offshoot of Lacanism.

So what happened? Did psychoanalytic thinking hit a brick wall or come to the edge of a cliff?

Or reach the end of its metapsychological rope?

Psychoanalytic Classics

Abraham, K. (1949) Selected Papers on Psycho-Analysis
Balint, M. (1968) The Basic Fault: Therapeutic Aspects of Regression.
Bion, W. R. (1948b). Experiences in groups, Human RelationsBion, W. (1963) Elements of Psycho-Analysis. In W. Bion, Seven Servants
Bion, W. (1967) Second Thoughts
Bion, W. (1977) Seven Servants
Breuer, J., Freud, S. (1895). Studies on hysteria (1893-1895).,
Brill A.A. (1914). Psychoanalysis: Its Theories and Practical Application
Brill A.A. (1938) The Basic Writings of Sigmund Freud
Deutsch, H. (1940) Freud and His Pupils: A Footnote to the History of the Psychoanalytic Movement.
Edelson, M. (1975). Language and Interpretation in Psychoanalysis
Eissler, K.R. (1961). Leonardo da Vinci: Psychoanalytic Notes on the Enigma
Fairbairn, W. R. D. (1952) Psychoanalytic Study of Personality
Fenichel, O. (1945). The Psychoanalytic Theory of Neurosis
Ferenczi, S. (1909) Introjection and transferenc
Ferenczi, S. (1910) On the technique of psycho-analysis
Ferenczi, S. (1949) Confusion of Tongues. Int. Journal of Psychoanalysis.

Freud, Sigmund. The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud. Trans. from the German under the general editorship of James Strachey, in collaboration with Anna Freud, assisted by Alix Strachey and Alan Tyson, and Angela Richards.
Freud, S. (trans. C. Hubback) (1922). Beyond the Pleasure Principle
Freud, S. (N. Procter Gregg, trans.) (1948). The Question of Lay Analysis
Freud, S. (trans. A.A.Brill) (1933). The Interpretation of Dreams
Freud, S. (trans. J. Riviere) (1927). The Ego and the Id

Gill, M. (1979) The analysis of transference
Greenson, R. (1967) Technique and Practice of Psychoanalysis
Grotstein, J. (1995) Splitting and Projective Identification
Hinshelwood, R. (1991) A Dictionary of Kleinian Thought
Janet, P. (1925) Principles of Psychotherapy
Kernberg, O. (1975) Borderline Conditions and Pathological Narcissim
Kahn, M. (1974) The Privacy of the Self
Klein, M. (1946). Notes on some schizoid mechanisms.
Kohut, H. (1971) The Analysis of the Self
Kohut, H. (1977). The Restoration of the Self
Langs, R. (1976a) The Bipersonal Field
Laplanche, J & PontalisJ-B, (1973) The Language of Psycho-Analysis
Little, M. (1951). Counterstransference and the patient's response to it
Loewald, H. (1970) Psychoanalytic theory and the psychoanalytic process
Milner, M. (1957). On Not Being Able to Paint
Racker, H. (1957) The meanings and uses of countertransference
Racker, H. (1968) Transference and Countertransference
Reik, T (1948). Listening with the Third Ear: The Inner Experience of a Psychoanalyst
Schafer, R. (1983). The analytic attitude
Searles, H. (1965) Collected Papers on Schizophrenia and Related Subjects.
Searles, H. (1986). My Work with Borderline Patients
Shapiro, D. (1972) Neurotic Styles
Sterba, R. (1934) The fate of the ego in analytic therapy
Winnicott, D. W. (1949) Hate in the countertransference
Winnicott, D. (1953). Transitional objects and transitional phenomena
Winnicott, D. (1958) Collected Papers. London: Tavistock Publications
Winnicott, D.W. (1965) The Maturational Process and the Facilitating Environment
Zetzel, E. (1956) Current concepts of transference

Also see: Highlights of the Psychoanalytic Literature: A Topical Reading List   for the extensions and syntheses of the nineties.

Posted by psyche at 04:35 PM

August 04, 2003

Splitting and Dissociation

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Freud distinguished primary repression (neurologically based avoidance of pain) and psychologically defensive secondary repression (repression proper), the avoidance of instinctual conflict in the whole object Oedipal period.

In the intermediate stages of development, repression is represented by the concepts of splitting and dissociation and autistic states. Working backward from the Oedipal stage, the post self-object theorists find narcissistic dissociation, splitting of self representations, and expressions of the broken primary link and the failed or dead mother.

Dissociative Identity Disorder doesn't fall neatly into this scheme, and we are left wondering if there is really any difference between a dissociation and a split, or for that matter, a repression.

But what we are really interested in is what is being repressed, split, projected, introjected and dissociated and in whom is doing it. Splits of object representations are called projections and introjections of self representations are called splits.

Dividing by the lowest common metaphorical demoninator, we are left with projection/introjection (flow of energy/meaning) between the poles of self and other, and an ego or psyche which can only repress, split and dissociate.


Summarizing, four distinctly different processes have been postulated in the history of psychoanalysis to account for the various conditions of memory. In developmental order they are:

(1) primary (neurologically conditioned) repression which acts to foreclose the possibility of reengaging in activities formerly experienced as physically painful;

(2) ego-affect splitting in which mutually contradictory affect states give rise to contrasting and contradictory self and other transference and resistance memories;

(3) dissociation in which certain whole sectors of internal psychic experience are (defensively) walled off from the main personality because they cannot be integrated into the overall span of the main personality; and

(4) secondary (policy decision) repression brought about by self instruction against socially undesirable, internal, instinctually-driven thought and activity.

The layman's notion (which judges, jurors, and survivor's groups are most likely to hold) which presupposes massive forgetting of an intense social impingement and the later possibility of perfect video camera recall, is not a part of any existing psychoanalytic theory of memory. A century of psychoanalytic observation has shown that the common sense notion of forgetting, derived as it is from the everyday experience of lapses in memory with sudden flashes of recall, simply does not hold up when emotionally charged interpersonal experiences from early childhood are involved. What appears to the layman as forgetting is considered by psychoanalytic theory to be the result of the operation of selective forms of recall which are dependent upon the nature of the relationship context in which the memories are being recalled.

Nor do psychoanalytic theories regarding how emotionally charged memories operate support the common prejudice that human beings are accurate recorders of the historical facts out of which their personal psychic existences are forged! Human memory is simply not an objective camcorder affair, but rather a calling forth or creation of subjective narrational representations within a specified and highly influential relational context.

Lawrence E. Hedges: Taking Recovered Memories Seriously

Posted by psyche at 06:55 PM