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Re: I hate being...(long, dense) 10derHeart

Posted by DAisym on July 3, 2007, at 15:56:42

In reply to Re: I hate being angry with my T :-( canadagirl, posted by 10derHeart on July 3, 2007, at 14:37:13

This isn't exactly about being mad at our therapist but for some reason this thread made me think about one of my favorite readings for the program I was in by Judith Mitrani. She is an analyst who works in Southern California. Her stuff is dense and very classical but her ideas make so much sense. I thought I'd share the following passages because when I read them there was a great deal of relief to know that my experience of fear and my struggle with the weekend breaks and stuff were more or less "normal" -- at least as she sees it. I really like the idea of thinking of the therapy space as a private womb. My therapist often refers to himself as a psychic midwife, wait 'til I tell him he is a "womb." I think these should go into the therapists' training manual Dinah is writing. :)

She is talking directly to the therapists in her writings. First she talks about the analyst's responsibility:

"Our patient's need to project their "bad" objects and unendurable experiences into us is primary. Within us these objects, and the experiences which have created them, may find an opportunity for rehabilitation and transformation. In this manner, for example, the experience of the "abandoning object" that we become -- during weekend breaks, silences, or even absence of understanding in the analytic hour -- may have the chance to become an experience of an abandoning object who takes responsibility for having abandoned the patient and who, at the same time, is able to keep the patient in mind sufficiently to be able to think about how he might feel about being abandoned."

She also talks about how important it is for therapists to really get how scary it is for patients to regress and open up to those feelings and she makes a point about how therapists can feel abandoned too.

"Such experiences remind us that, even in analysis, contact with infantile experiences can be unbearably terrifying, provoking extremes of emotional turbulence and precipitating fears of breakdown, particularly when this occurs prematurely and outside the realm of the patient's personal omnipotence.
"Indeed, patients like Joel may feel they have no choice but to abandon what may have once felt to be the safety of the therapeutic womb, especially when untimely failures are felt to transform that womb into a noxious place; when the failure of the analyst to preserve the security of the setting or when the terror and pain of separation imposed by the breaks are felt to penetrate and destroy its delicate environment. Some patients -- in panic, rage and despair -- may abort the analysis and analytic baby. Some patients may harden themselves while rallying hatred to the cause; they may use anger as a shield against vulnerability, and thus may "forget" that they cannot really live without other people.
"Regretfully, in the course of any analysis, we are inevitably confronted with much that is beyond our ability to control. We are faced with the limitations in our capacity to "watch over" and protect the fragile , absolutely-dependent baby-part of the patient (previously encapsulated) as it attempts to hatch-out into the analytic nest of relative dependency that we and our analysand have worked to create.
"Our absences of body and mind and our errors of tact and timing can be felt to destroy that nest, precipitating a premature awareness of separateness, creating panic, fragmenting the 'baby' and perhaps provoking a defensive hardening of an otherwise thin psychic skin and deadening of those fragile feelings of dependency and longing that may subsequently by still-born as the analyst's mistakes and failures become direct causes of the outbreak of fear and breakdown. In the wake of this fear, patients like Joel often leave us --at least for awhile -- with their own unbearable sense of helplessness. Perhaps, when they do, we would hope to be able to sustain such discomforting feelings, to weather the "emotional storm" created in the wake of abandonment (the patient's if they quit therapy or withdraw from us) without caving in under the temptation to declare "never before and never again!"




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