Notes: The Other as Extended Self vs. I-Thou. Bakhtin and Buber.

The I-position does not limit itself to the internal domain of the self. e.g. I am a piano player, I as a father. We extend our selves into society through (what looks like our roles) “my father”, “my enemy”, “my sister”, which are also I positions…” as the other person has the potential to function in the self as ‘another I’.”

Splitting of the Self

The Cartesian split between the body and self: the body belongs to the self. The Cartesian split between the other and self: the children belongs to the self.

“Thou-Art” : On recognizing the other

The central concept of Bakhtin: ‘For the author the hero is not “he”, and not “I” but a full-valued “thou”, that is another full-fledged “I” ’ (Bakhtin 1973: 51).

“This theoretical ‘upgrading’ of the other as another person in the self implies that the other is considered more than an extension of the Me on the object.  This theoretical ‘upgrading’ of the other as another person in the self implies that the other is considered more than an extension of the Me  on the object level but first of all an extension of I  on the subject level. It allows the other, as part of the self, to develop an original perspective on the world, to tell a story about him- or herself, and to do so as a relatively autonomous position or voice with an own point of view. (p. 21)”

This part rings similar to Martin Buber’s concept of the I-thou relationship. In this I-thou relationship, the other becomes the subject and not merely an extension of the subject. The other is also free to be autonomous. Could this mean that part of the I-thou evolution is to be able to position the other as the hero? Does this correlate to unconditional positive regard?

“Drawing on Buber’s (1923/1958) distinction between the I–Thou and I–It attitude, Cooper proposed that intrapersonal relationships can take one of two forms: an I–I form, in which one I-position encounters and confirms another I-position in its uniqueness and wholeness; and an I–Me form, in which one I-position experiences another I-position in a detached and objectifying way. In his view, a key role for the therapeutic process is to assist clients to become more able to experience moments of an I–I intrapersonal encounter, which requires the therapist to confirm the client both as a whole and in terms of his or her different voices. (p.21)”

The Hero’s Arrival at the Truth

Dostoevsky’s interest is not the hero as an object. The object of interest is the hero’s discourse about himself and the world.  The hero is not objectified. It is about how the hero sees himself and how he sees the world in which he is in.

The hero must ultimately arrive at the truth through clarifying events to himself.

“Dostoevsky’s creative method: the “truth” at which the hero must and indeed ultimately does arrive through clarifying the events to himself, can essentially be for Dostoevsky only the truth of the hero’s own consciousness. It cannot be neutral toward his self-consciousness. In the mouth of another person, a word or a definition identical in content would take on another meaning and tone, and would no longer be the truth. Only in the form of a confessional self-utterance, Dostoevsky maintained, could the final word about a person be given, a word truly adequate to him. (Bakhtin 1984/29 p. 41)

Bibliography

 Source: The dialogical Self in Psychotherapy

Hermans, H. J. (2004). The dialogical: Between exchange and power.

Bakhtin, M. (1984/29). Problems of Dostojevskij’s poetics: Theory and history of literature. (Vol. 8). Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press.

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Bion: The Function of Myths in Groups

A group is not an aggregate of individuals. It’s a body that has a mental state and creates a phantasy.

The group produces its own mythology. When the group work is focused on primary functioning, in problem solving, this causes the surfacing of anxiety. Myth has function. It acts as mediator from the mother – infant position to society.

From narcissism (living as only me) to socialism (living as part of society). Myth generates reaction and response because it connects the inner worlds of people. Myths can also be changed. Psychomythology.

Myths are used by the mother to explain “facts of life”.  It provides a illusion that answers the questions of the child and solves his/her developmental problems in understanding the self and world around him/her.

Parent-child transferences are re-played by individuals in groups. Family stories are re-told through unconscious acting out in groups.

Myths also occur in “work” & “non-work” transition.

External influences that change the group pose challenges to status quo of the group. This makes the group conscious of itself. Arrival of a new member, e.g., creates this kind of uncertainty and awareness.

This is a fright-flight response*, but with decorum. The new member is instructed then implicitly how to tow the line.

The task of making contact with the emotional life of the group is like the contact between mother and child. Breast mother family group. The chapter in this book describes an interesting case study of a group therapy, in whicha new member enters the group (Garland 2003).

 

 Note

Bion describes the situation that unfolds when the group is left without a leader. The leaderless group is displaced by one of the following: 

baD: Basic Assumption Dependency –> the need for an omnipotent omniscient leader (a kind of God).

baP: Basic Assumption Pairing –> Group members support tactically a  pairing, with a basic assumption that something good is going to come out of it (like a primal scene).

baF: Basic Assumption Fright Flight –> there is need for rational leadership. If the ability to reason fails, the group plunges into anxiety and hatred.There is regression, and a need to hold onto magical thinking. The group finds the man/woman that has marked paranoid tendencies (Carveth, 2017).

Bibliography:

Carveth, D. (2017). THE TRUMP EFFECT: Freud’s and Bion’s Group Psychologies. Youtube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SdWG8UiAtpE .

Garland, C. (2003). Group Therapy, Myth in the Service of Work. Mawson, C. (Ed.). Bion today. Routledge. p. 298-316.

Book Review : Wilhelm Reich’s Character Analysis

Character Analysis was written by Wilhelm Reich in 1933.  Reich was a psychoanalyst and physician whose work today is of relevant significance in Psychotherapy. Reich had, already in the early days, discovered problems therapists face with some patients in the therapeutic work. This problems come in the form of resistance to the analysis itself, and these manifest as major hinderances to the treatment. I believe that it is because of these resistances (and the fact that many therapists today have not paid attention to the existence of these resistances), that some patients become rendered “un-therapieable” / or untreatable. In today’s world the danger in considering patients not treatable by psychotherapy not only does injustice to the profession, but also to the patient, who ultimately become dependent on psycho pharmaceuticals as their only sources of help. These drugs often come with side effects and do not help the patient return to full functionality.

Reich’s influence today can be seen in the work of Otto Kernberg, who explains to us about Transference Analysis.

Chapters in this book & pictorial notes:

ON THE TECHNIQUE OF INTERPRETATION AND OF RESISTANCE ANALYSIS 

1. Same typical errors in the technique of interpretation and their consequences

2. Systematic interpretation and resistance analysis

3. Consistency in resistance analysis

ON THE TECHNIQUE OF CHARACTER ANALYSIS

Character armoring and character resistance

a) The inability to follow the basic rule

b) Where do the character resistances come from?

c) On the technique of analyzing the character resistance

d) The technique of dealing with individual situations as derived from the structure of the character resistance

e) The breaking down of the narcissistic defense apparatus

f) On the optimal conditions for the analytic reduction to the infantile situation from the contemporary situation

g) Character analysis in the case of abundantly flowing material

3 A case of passive-feminine character

a) Anamnesis

b) The development and analysis of the character-resistance

c) Linking the analysis of the contemporary material to the infantile

 INDICATIONS AND DANGERS OF CHARACTER ANALYSIS ON THE HANDLING OF THE TRANSFERENCE

1 The distillation of the genital-object libido 127

2 Secondary narcissism, negative transference, and insight into illness

3 On the handling of the abstinence rule

4 On the question of the “dissolution” of the positive transference

5 A fe,v remarks about counter-transference

THEORY OF CHARACTER FORMATION CHARACTEROLOGICAL RESOLUTION OF THE INFANTILE SEXUAL CONFLICT

1 Content and form of psychic reactions

2 The function of character formation

3 Conditions of character differentiation

THE GENITAL CHARACTER AND THE NEUROTIC CHARACTER (THE SEX-ECONOMIC FUNCTION OF THE CHARACTER ARMOR)

1 Character and sexual stasis

2 The libido-economic difference between the genital character and the neurotic character

a) Structure of the id

b) Structure of the superego

c) Structure of the ego

3 Sublimation, reaction formation, and neurotic reaction basis

CHILDHOOD PHOBIA AND CHARACTER FORMATION

1 An “aristocratic” character

2 Overcoming of childhood phobia by the formation of character attitudes

SOME CIRCUMSCRIBED CHARACTER FORMS

1 The hysterical character

2 The compulsive character

3 The phallic-narcissistic character

THE MASOCHISTIC CHARACTER

1 Summary of views

2 The armoring of the masochistic character

3 Inhibited exhibitionism and the passion for self-deprecation

4 Unpleasurable perception of the increase of sexual excitation: the specific basis of the masochistic character

5 Observations on the therapy of masochism

SOME OBSERVATIONS ON THE BASIC CONFLICT BETWEEN NEED AND OUTER WORLD

FROM PSYCHOANALYSIS TO ORGONE BIOPHYSICS

PSYCHIC CONTACT AND VEGETATIVE CURRENT

1 More about the conflict between instinct and outer World

2 Same technical presuppositions

3 The change of function of the impulse

4 The intellect as defense function

5 The interlacing of the instinctual defenses

6 Contactlessness

7 Substitute contact

8 The psychic representation of the organic

a) The idea of “bursting”

b) On the idea of death

q Pleasure, anxiety, anger, and muscular armor

1 o The two great leaps in evolution

TIIE EXPRESSIVE LANGUAGE OF THE LIVING

1 ‘”The function of en1otion in orgone therapy

2 Plasn1atir expressive n1ovement and en1otional expression

3 The segmental arrangement of the armor

4 The emotional expression of the orgasm reflex and sexual superimposition

THE SCHIZOPHRENIC SPLIT

1 The ”devil” in the schizophrenic process

2 The “forces”

3 The remote schizophrenic expression in the eyes

4 The breakthrough of the depersonalizationand first understanding of the schizophrenicsplit

5 The interdependence of consciousness andself-perception

6 The rational function of the “devilish evil”

7 Anorgonotic regions in the catatonic state

8 The function of self-damage in schizophrenia

9 Crisis and recovery

THE EMOTIONAL PLAGUE

References:

Reich, W. (1980/1933). Character analysis. Macmillan.