Sunday, November 30, 2014

The ego is first a body ego vs. the first object is the body

I've shared in several posts that working with specific id impulses of aggression or loneliness (affection) has been central to much of my clinical work.

A patient follows dreams or associations to a post childhood event that caused narcissistic or echoistic injuries and they re-live the feeling and I get them to discharge through physical expression.

It's easy enough to figure out what to do when they say they feel anger in their legs, jaw, arms, eyes, etc. They either hit out, bite, or make their face monstrous and eyes into daggers or lasers that can sear a whole in someone. However, many of these patients have referenced feeling anger in their chest and I haven't known what to do with it.

I figured out a solution now though. Because some patients have had an antagonistic relationship with their bodies and put inferiority feelings into it, or have had phantasies of leaving it in astral travel, I asked a patient who referenced this aggression to hold her breath and imagine she was hurting her body as a separate thing from her (she herself had referenced her own mind-body split in many previous sessions and abhorred the somatic therapy because it made her too connected to her body). She did this and after she let herself breath she immediately referenced how her anger switched to a sibling and she detailed the recent anger for the sibling.

I've mentioned before that Freud's claim isn't that the auto-erotic and early stages have no relation between child and external objects. Instead the claim is that the drives that are formed from those relations first take the body as an object and the drives for power or belonging don't exist in a constantly related way until the anal stage in which social hierarchy is a reference that remains constant. In the volar stage the ego ideal references others but they are outside of social hierarchy and the tensions disappear when engagement with them ends.

I have begun thinking about Freud's claim that the death drive is first primary masochism because of my patients aggression towards her body... but I need to confirm this works with other patients in a similar way and I don't necessarily think that the mechanistic desire to not breath and quiet the body would be the same as death or a pull to inorganicity. As I've argued in a much earlier post, Freud conflates the repetition of an event that has been experienced with the return to a previous state that hadn't been experienced by consciousness.  

Still, Freud may have been on to something...

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