Wednesday, March 18, 2015

To think analytically vs. to practice analytically

I'm not a fan of Anna Freud. I'd much rather read Klein, and I find that Anna has too much common sense.
So, in the passage below I appreciate he common sense on how to think analytically, but then, in regards to technique, I find her thoughts very trite:

TO THINK ANALYTICALLY AUTOMATICALLY IMPLIES A DISSECTION of psychic material into its constituent elements, to treat each of these elements as a factor in its own right, and to trace it back to its first appearance within the psychic processes. In the technique of psychoanalytic treatment, it is the analyst's main endeavor to spotlight such items in the patient's unconscious mind, to expose them to consciousness, and then to leave it to the individual concerned to integrate what has been discovered with the rest of his personality. The analyst's task ends where synthesis begins, the latter being one of the most important functions of the ego—a function, moreover, which, according to analytic experience, proceeds best without interference from external influence (The Concept of Developmental Lines, 1981)
I think it's too easy to take refuge in ideas of the person having to do the work themselves; if they don't get better than it is their fault.
Also, tracing something back to its first appearance is valuable in regards to phantasy, but that's where Klein is valuable and not Anna:
A patient had a falling out with a friend because she had got into another power struggle with a room-mate, and the friend was tired of hearing about these struggles. The friend confronts her and says that she should consider how she might keep putting herself in these situations again and again instead of saying the room-mate is all bad. She takes this as a huge betrayal. We explore this for a while and she eventually decides that she will go see the friend. She goes and said it was good to see him but something felt 'broken' and like it can't be repaired. I ask her to associate to this. She says a mug that's thrown to the ground. It can be glued back together but "microscopically" it's not the same mug. She associates it to Persian tea inside, and she loves the smell. She associates this to boyfriends who she loves the smell of. She also associates her mother, always drinking tea and trying diet but keeps saying that she's not fat. Then a phantasy emerges of the fat mother who has all the liquid from the cup inside of her while the patient has none. I interpret the broken cup as her attacking the mother's breast because she has all the good liquid inside of her and is fat while the patient is hungry. This leads to her describing her parents love as something special in which they could finish each other's sentences and almost read each others minds. It didn't feel triangulated or like there was envy. 

So, from a connection with a close friend being lost we go back to an 'ur' moment in which she felt the connection to her mother was lost, with the mug. liquid, and indications pointing to the breast. This led to the interpretation of the mother withholding the breast and being fat while the patient was hungry and the patients aggression. Then this led to the appearance of the father and mother together and some relief for her.
Also, Anna neglects to mention 'the first appearance' of the problem in the patient's recent history. What happened with the parental-substitutes? Anyone with halfways decent judgment can see friends and acquaintances change, harden, die a little, or lose their former health and vibrancy. Problems in work and love are also important moments that have to be recovered.
These aren't the only ways to work with others, but they are better ways than blaming the person for not getting well.

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