Uncanny Communication and the Porous Mind
Psychoanalytic Dialogues, Vol. 26, No. 2, p. 156-174, 2016.
In this paper I examine the phenomenon of “uncanny” unconscious communication and the plausibility of “telepathic” interconnectivity between patient and therapist. While reexamining longstanding psychoanalytic reluctance to engage with the topic of the “uncanny,” I present clinical examples of seeming anomalous transmission, followed by discussion from contrasting perspectives of psychoanalysis, neuroscience, quantum physics, and parapsychology. The patient’s and analyst’s reactions to these uncanny moments are explored, along with the potential clinical value of nurturing receptivity to this “frequency” of unconscious attunement.
“Presence” and “Absence”:
Kaleidoscopic Hide and Seek: Reply to Commentaries
Psychoanalytic Dialogues, Vol. 26, No. 2, p. 198-205, 2016.
In this reply I respond to Cambray’s introduction of the “self-organizing” and “emergent” qualities of telepathic communication, looking more closely at the relationship between dissociation and the emergence of telepathic phenomena. I highlight the creative aspect of such telepathic “intrusions,” viewing the clinician’s capacity for intuitive imagination as key to the emergence of telepathic material.
In response to Eshel’s connection between the analyst’s “presence,” “absence,” and the patient’s unmet need for recognition, I examine the roles of co-construction and mutual dissociation in transference/countertransference enactments that generate uncanny phenomena. Verbal interpretation not always being the most viable mode of communication, “absence” can sometimes serve as a co-constructed, unconscious “solution” to the problem of multiple conflicting needs, holding a space for telepathic emergence to express the inexpressible.
Janine de Peyer, LCSW
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Including the Excluded:
Males and Gender Minorities in Eating Disorder Prevention
By Cohn, L., Murray, S., Wooldridge, T., & Walen, A., in Eating Disorders: The Journal of Treatment and Prevention, Vol. 24, No. 1, 2016.
By operating under the outdated premise that eating disorders predominantly affect females, prevention efforts have been disproportionately aimed at girls and young women. This article shows how one-sided the research and program development have been, and present recommendations for how to expand curricula and policy to be more gender inclusive. Ultimately, eating disorders and related issues (e.g., body image dissatisfaction, obesity, comorbid conditions, weight prejudice, etc.) cannot be expected to decrease unless everyone is involved, regardless of gender. We wouldn’t only inoculate girls for measles; preventing eating disorders across the board is the only fully effective approach.
Go Big or Go Home:
A Thematic Content Analysis of Pro-muscularity Websites
By Murray, S.B., Griffiths, S., Hazery, L., Shen, T., Wooldridge, T. & Mond, J.M., in Body Image, Vol. 16, p. 17 – 20, 2016.
Existing content analyses of pro-eating disorder web content have focused on thinness-oriented eating disorder pathology. With the increasing prevalence of muscularity-oriented body image concerns, we conducted a systematic content analysis of 421 active pro-muscularity websites including static content websites, blogs, and online forums. Emergent coding methods were utilized (Cohen’s kappa range = .78–.88), and eight distinct thematic categories were identified: rigid dietary practices (26.2%), rigid exercise rules (18.4%), the broader benefits of muscularity (16.1%), the encouragement of the drive for size (15.9%), the labeling of the non-ideal body (11.4%), marginalizing other areas of life (6.1%), muscle enhancing substances (3.3%), and minimizing medical risk (2.6%). Pro-muscularity websites provide explicit material surrounding potentially non-healthful muscularity-oriented eating and exercise practices. Clinician awareness of the potentially non-healthful behaviors involved in the pursuit of muscularity may enhance the detection and treatment of male eating disorders in particular.
Macho, Bravado, and Eating Disorders:
Special Issues in Diagnosing and Treating Men
By Wooldridge, T. & Lemberg, R., in Psychiatric Times, 2016.
Tom Wooldridge, PsyD
Chair, Department of Psychology
Nagel T. Miner Research Professor
Golden Gate University
536 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94105 USA
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Enactments in Psychoanalysis: Therapeutic Benefits
Psychodynamic Psychiatry, Vol. 44, No. 2, pp. 281-303, 2016.
In this article the therapeutic benefits of enactments are addressed. Relevant literature reveals disparate conceptions about the nature and use of enactments. Clarification of the term is discussed. This analyst’s theoretical and technical evolution is addressed; it is inextricably related to using enactments. How can it not be? A taxonomy of enactments is presented. The article considers that enactments may be fundamental in the evolution from orthodox to contemporary analytic technique. Assumptions underlying enactments are explored, as are guidelines for using enactments. Finally, the article posits that enactments have widened the scope of analysis and contributed to its vitality.
Stanley Stern, MD served as a Training and Supervising Analyst for the Southern California Psychoanalytic Institute and is a member of the New Center for Psychoanalysis, The Southwest Arizona Psychoanalytic Society, and the Arizona Psychoanalytic Society. He practices in Phoenix, AZ. He is also a member of the American Psychoanalytic Association and The International Association of Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy.
Stanley Stern, MD
3104 E. Camelback Rd., No. 601
Phoenix, AZ 85016 USA
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By Andrew Samuels (UK)
“I rebel, therefore we are” (Albert Camus): New Political Thinking on Individual Responsibility for Group, Society, Culture, and Planet
Transactional Analysis Journal, Vol. 46, No. 2, pp. 101-108, 2016.
This article is an attempt to open discussion on the role of the individual, as opposed to the group, in contemporary progressive and radical politics. The phrase making a difference comes to mind. Academic ideas about the contexts and groups in which individuals operate are important yet require extensive revision. Jung’s ideas about the relationship of individuals and the social collective are useful as is Camus’ (1951/1953) book The Rebel. This article presents new thinking about individuals as fractured and broken as distinct from the autonomous unit promulgated by neoliberal thinking. Yet they remain individuals.
Relational Approaches to Social and Political Issues: Andrew Samuels Interviewed by Tom Warnecke
By Samuels, A. & Warnecke, T. in Psychotherapy and Politics International. Published online in Wiley Online Library (wileyonlinelibrary.com) DOI: 10.1002/ppi.1377, 2016.
This article derives from an interview originally conducted for a webinar on relational psychotherapy. The focus is on relational approaches to political and social issues. The possibilities and limitations of such approaches are discussed in the interview. Attention is paid to ecopsychology and also to the interweave between personal experience and societal dynamics. The ways in which the political is still marginalized in psychotherapy is explored. Ideas about how to work directly in the session with clinical material that is political in nature are introduced. Specific attention is paid to situations where the therapist might be repelled by the viewpoints of the client.
Politische und klinische Entwicklungen in der Analytischen Psychologie 1772-2014: Subjektivität, Ebenburgtigkeit und Diversität Innerhalb und Ausserhalb des Behandlungsraums
Analytische Psychologie: Zeitschrift fur Psychotherapie und Psychoanalyse, Heft 181, 46. Jg., 3/2015, 284-309, 2015.
John Forrester – Reminiscences
Self and Society, Vol. 44, No. 1, 2016.
Andrew Samuels, DHL
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By Jill Gentile (USA)
On Spatial Metaphors and Free Association:
Phallic Fantasy and Vaginal Primacy
Contemporary Psychoanalysis, Vol. 52, No. 1, 2016.
This article ponders the growing appreciation for, and ubiquity of, metaphors of space in contemporary psychoanalytic thought and suggests that these metaphors might be understood as feminine signifiers. Psychoanalysis has historically privileged the phallic symbol, while keeping a feminine one obscured and unnamed. It is only by recognizing the sexual “somethingness” of vaginal space that we appreciate how vital it is to phallic potency, both metaphorically and actually. True personal agency and true phallic achievement, as with all of cultural and symbolic life, are predicated on a spatial foundation both real and metaphorical. An (in)ability to face the ultimate carnality of sexual symbols and to explicitly signify the female genital has consequences for free association as an encounter between the known and the novel, and for democratic free speech in the public sphere.
Between the Familiar and the Stranger: Attachment Security, Mutual Desire, and Reclaimed Love
The International Journal of Psychoanalytic Self Psychology, Vol. 11, No. 3, 2016.
This essay explores the idea that relationships of attachment security are simultaneously relationships of mutual desire. Seen through this lens, separation and reunion behavior become increasingly psychologically charged: infant and mother, as well as patient and analyst, must revisit their willingness to expose their desire in each encounter. By recognizing that personal agency is vital to both healthy attachment and romantic desire, we can begin to appreciate the dawning of romantic desire not so much as promoting “separation-individuation” as often conceived, but as exerting a gravitational pull to revisit an original love, one that is now erotically reconceived. We reclaim an original love but now in a relational context between mother and the other, the pre-oedipal and the oedipal, the familiar and the stranger.
The Erotically Reconceived Familiar Stranger: Reply to Ringstrom and Slavin
The International Journal of Psychoanalytic Self Psychology, Vol. 11, No. 3, 2016.
By viewing attachment theory in terms of its implicit semiotics of desire, we discover an avenue for reconciliation between attachment theory and contemporary psychoanalysis. My discussants, Ringstrom and Slavin, both affirm this quest, joining in articulating a dialectical conception of how attachment and desire, relationship and drive, mutually constitute each other. Ringstrom elaborates my thesis particularly in relation to his own signature theorizing on couples’ treatment, and calls attention to the conundrum of insistent demand and the “Pandora’s box” of mutuality of desire. Slavin contextualizes my call within a larger existential framework, linking exploratory probings to mortal terrors. Both discussants highlight how high the stakes are in any genuine encounter between the known and the still unknown. Yet, by encompassing the erotics of the Oedipal triangle and its dialectics of the familiar-stranger, a more robust conception of attachment security emerges situated in a third space between drive and attachment, existential dread and relational connection, and desire and reunion, even as we discover their inextricable union.
Naming the Vagina, Naming the Woman
Division/Review, No. 14, Spring 2016.
In this essay, I explore acts of naming, their fundamental status for psychoanalysis, and the powerful effect that naming a hidden body part can have. I hope to show that once we are able to name and speak of the female genital it becomes metaphorically approachable, enabling free association and its expressive correlate, free speech. Further, by metaphorizing the female genital, we also name the woman. No longer subjugated as a condition of the unsignifiable, she gains status in the symbolic realm of shared discourse. From this new vantage point, the female genital (in name and as metaphor), far from signifying lack or inferiority (as is so often suggested in the psychoanalytic literature), gains status as that primordial signifier for the entire project of human symbolization. The feminine metaphor marks the unknown, the as-yet-to-be-signified, and also the unsignifiable. Only by naming a “feminine law”—desire’s law—do we glimpse the primacy of space: the space that free speech requires.
Psychoanalysis: Relevant to Democracy
The American Psychoanalyst, Vol. 50, No. 1, Winter/Spring 2016.
Psychoanalysis achieves its results through a definitively human, nontechnological practice of talking freely—of free association. Its essential validity for a symbolic species is inherent in its design. In this profound mechanism, psychoanalysis’s contributions to the democratic dream of shared, equal, and inclusive speech are real. Both psychoanalysis and democracy find mutual resonance, sustenance, and relevance in their signature practices, free association and free speech. But one point of departure is most intriguing: While psychoanalysis struggles to remain relevant to the culture at large, democracy’s survival (despite sometimes striking bruises) seems assured; it claims an enduring relevance and comparative advantage over other forms of government. The sheer survival of the word “democracy” as a master signifier signifies its semiotic ascendancy, which both results from and validates (free) speech’s democratizing action. Speech, as psychoanalysis reveals, illuminates the contagious, reverberating, and transformational flow of desire and its symbols. The therapeutic action of free association and free speech lies in liberating desire’s democratic impulse.
Where Silent Infantile Sexuality Was, Democracy Shall Be:
A Psychoanalytic Manifesto
Division/Review, No. 13, Winter 2016.
Sigmund Freud, after experimenting with hypnosis, began working instead in the familiar but also radical terrain of human speech, and wandered into uncanny territory. It wasn’t only the unconscious that compelled his attention, but also the peculiar signage of unconscious terrain. He named this signage “infantile sexuality” and he recognized it as both utterly normal and utterly perverse. But how was the infant’s sexuality to be revealed? Infants, by definition, are without language (in-fantem). What Freud intuited early on was the need for a space of speech and the power of an enlightened speaking subject. He glimpsed but never realized the power of psychoanalysis to grant human beings their natural and inalienable rights to own their sexuality, libido, and free speech privilege. The once meek—and voiceless—shall inherit the earth through a dedicated practice of speaking desire, of democratizing desire, a truly egalitarian model that Marx and the communist manifesto might wish to claim, with an equality (and nobility, according to Tocqueville) borne of translating the infant’s mute sexual curiosity and natural “perverse” desire into a talking that cures.
Jill Gentile, PhD
Faculty, NYU Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis
Training and Supervising Analyst, Institute for the Psychoanalytic Study of Subjectivity
26 West 9th Street, Suite 10A
New York, NY 10011
307 Raritan Avenue
Highland Park, NJ 08904 USA
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By Michael Eigen (USA)
O, Orgasm and Beyond
Psychoanalytic Dialogues, Vol. 25, No. 5, p. 646-654, 2015.
In this article the author posits a distinction-union structure made up substructures veering more toward distinction (difference) and more toward union. Mixtures of these subtendencies open many experiential dimensions. Discussion includes Bion’s O, Marion Milner’s zero (pregnant emptiness), communion (co-union), scenes from Bion’s A Memoir of the Future, orgasmic thought, jouissance, and a climactic orgasm-death scene in the Zohar. There are so many kinds of O-moments reaching beyond imaginings, opening one’s heart to unknown intimacies.
New Therapist, November/December 2015.
Michael Eigen, PhD
225 Central Park West, Apt. 101A
New York, NY 10024 USA
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