Friday, November 7, 2014

personal unconscious and collective unconscious and the mind and body approach

The collective unconscious is another way of talking about character and the proto, deutero, and trito stages up to phallic stage. Social ontology and the encounter with Space, Time, the Superlative, and Prestige is achieved and this provides myth with a level of Being. Symbols are also generated here an often come from the influence of adaptation or fixation on the body as well as imago representations that are visible from projective identification (i.e. assumption of the parental imago and people looking like lions, bulls, deer, etc. in their face). The id impulses of aggression and affection are also very important and provide myth and stories with their idiosyncratic forms of aggression or affection (i.e. desire to behead, dismember, devour, etc. in aggression).

The personal unconscious, which is often accessed through dreams and getting association to certain idiosyncratic word choices in regular conversation will often lead people back to narcissistic/echoistic injuries and betrayals/disappointments in love. It will also lead to various defenses that show up in, for example, melancholic introjections in which the person has a poor self-image or in externalization of immoral motives to others. When defenses are in place then they must be worked through. I've shared before that taking melancholic self-statements and asking the patient to say them as 'you-statements' in relaxed conditions (and after they have been present for a little bit/descriptions of parents or other people who the statements fit begin to appear) will allow him or her to feel the anger they have.

When they note the anger or you can hear it in their voice then it's time to ask them where they feel it in their bodies. For some it appears in the mouth, or hands, or arms, or legs, etc. It's at this point when you can ask them to express the aggression by biting, strangling, hitting, kicking, etc. with some simple props like towels, pillows, etc.

You will see them express their aggression and be into it. If you ask them for aggression when it doesn't come from them internally nothing will happen and it will be a rote exercise bereft of benefits. It will be surprising to see them get into it and it's always important to ask them to "give it words". They will often swear and slander the person in an impressive way.

The personal unconscious will lead to the idiosyncratic id reactions of the collective unconscious and once it is expressed (sometimes it will take more than one time) the bodily "armor" that holds the impulses back will let go and they will often appear healthier physically along with psychological benefits of ending certain repetitions that involve the need for punishment, for example.

This is a much faster route than interpreting id impulses and waiting for transference upon oneself.

It's also much faster than working with the bodily armor and trying to get the suppressing muscles to let go so the impulses can be expressed that way.

This isn't all the work of therapy and trito instinctual renunciations (i.e. full internalization of the object) and work with bad conscience and other aspects are still very important to work with. However, it is the quickest route I have figured out for getting short-term therapy results.

These short-term results are important for me because of the nature of my job and the 3 month time limit I have with many patients. However, I do have doubts about whether this approach is conducive for the longer term work of trito maturation and other aspects.

Often patients who were badly off will enjoy the benefits of this approach but then a denial of how badly off they were before comes up. In enjoying more health they are pulled back out to live more and therapy can lose its lustre because, to these often impulsive characters, it is seen as work.

Going for a more traditional psychoanalytic route will allow for transference to fully be established instead of working extra-transferrentially.

Still, I enjoy the precision of working this way and want to enjoy my successes a little before my ego ideal once again makes me feel inadequacy for not being able to work in many different ways and know what way would be best for each patient.    

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