Independent Psychoanalysis Today (Psychoanalytic Ideas)

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A bond is then established during nursing and the presentation of the human face. Although the breast is the first object, Lebovici differing from Klein contends that it is not the first object perceived. The affect triggered by need is the basis of the organization, which—departing from Klein once again—sets the stage for cognitive processes.

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The infant gradually begins to integrate perceptions and cognition, "thinking in images" p. This stage is still largely characterized by helplessness, but the infant is now able to organize the object by means of the smiling-response, generating relationships that are transitive, pending the development of language. The object stage coincides with the maturing infant whose motricity and perceptions have now greatly increased. This is the stage of eight-month anxiety—the infant can recognize mother and distinguish her from displeasure-evoking others. This, Lebovici says, is truly the beginning of an object relationship.

Contributing to this development are increases in comprehension, in line with advances in neural-function integration p. The object phase is also the beginning of the formation of the ego and the Anna Freudian defense mechanisms. Lebovici also locates the beginning of fantasy life in this stage. The infant is only now capable of "hallucinating" the object when it is absent.

In the final stage of differentiated object relations, perception and action develop rapidly. In the second year of life, the child is now able to walk, talk, and take hold of objects. Toward the end of the second year, the child asserts his autonomy and can say, "I want. Is all this true?


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We are in France; the criteria for truth are different, in no small part because the legitimacy of a psychoanalytic vantage point seems less questioned, at least in the space for thinking Lebovici and his colleagues claim. The current pressure to seek extra-analytic data and "empirical" study to bolster the experience-nearer truths that emerge from work with patients is off having its lunch at McDonald's and isn't seen at this bistro.

Our minds are elsewhere. A rich intellectual encounter resists summarization, invites reflection, and is honored by questions. Psychoanalysis has a history, neither proud nor innocent, of championing freedom of thought, and expression—sort of. Within our field, in the United States, there are forces that work toward inclusivity, diversity, and open-mindedness, and forces that resist such impulses in our organizational and intellectual life as dangerous to our identity. Most working analysts, complex creatures that we are, have parts of ourselves that feel queasy about this wrinkle in our professional culture—we know, at least, that it is not one of our finer contributions—and, at the same time, are bound up in our histories, experiences, loyalties, and never fully analyzed blind spots.

Thus, it is not without some sympathy, but also not without some disquiet, that we observe that the freedom of thought that makes this volume such a generative pleasure stops with a more substantive and direct encounter with Lacanian thinking. There is something to be gained, certainly, by telling a part of a story well; but there is something essential that can become lost—or, more curiously at times, lost in plain sight.


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  6. The editors argue, with some merit, that their difficulty including Lacanian thinking is that non-IPA French psychoanalysis has become "fragmented" after the death of Lacan. But, at times, this volume has a feel similar to a history of music in the United States that chooses to exclude jazz, the blues, and rock and roll; one hears the other melody, inflection, and rhythm, at points, breaking through, though without the satisfaction of self-determined articulation. At minimum, we hunger for a companion volume that allows the English-speaking analytic reader a similar kind of encyclopedic access to the richness of the development and practice of French Lacanian thought.

    But even more, our desire is for a reading of the authors included here more grounded in the value of dialog—that is, grounded in dialog not just with Anglophone psychoanalysis, as it is so successfully here, but more directly engaged with Lacanian thinking as well.

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    Perhaps, a tripartite model? A similar concern extends to the almost global lack of a multicultural perspective in this volume. France is in some ways like the United States—its dominant intellectual currents once conceived of its society as culturally homogeneous; that has never been true, or fair, or a zone of the operation of relatively conflict-free ego; and the notion of cultural homogeneity is less true, and less widely shared, today in France, than ever before.

    The evolution has been intensely conflictual, but exciting and informative. Again parallel to the psychoanalytic experience in this country, there has been in France a dominant analytic discourse that has turned away from examination of cultural and class themes, in part by limiting space for minority voices; and there is a critique and another discourse—in France and the Francophone world, represented prominently by Fanon in his intellectual origins, a Lacanian and his intellectual descendants, as well as by voices within the French IPA world.


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    8. It is not an easy thing for psychoanalysis, or any intellectual discipline, to turn around this deep vein of our history. But as the Talmud puts it , while it is not our task to change the world, neither are we free of the responsibility to try. Many would argue that our reading of Freud is enriched, not corrupted, by an appreciation of his often unconscious and conflictual struggle with his Jewish identity. Contemporary psychoanalysis in France—in different manners, perhaps, inside and outside the IPA societies and institutes represented here—is, and is becoming, a multicultural, class-conscious psychoanalysis.

      Some echo of, and, again, dialog with contributions from these emerging perspectives could have found a way into, and enriched, this volume. Finally, the French analytic world bridges a gap Anglophone analysts have largely failed to bridge, and collaborates actively and fruitfully with the institutional and academic mental health worlds. The editors acknowledge this difference, but more of a sense of how the writers represented here theorize this realm of practice would have been welcome. We struggle in this country, for instance, to understand how our willingness or refusal to accept health insurance reimbursements influences not just our economic viability but the ways in which we conceptualize our work.

      A deeper understanding of the very different ways our French colleagues have handled an analogous problem would have potential to energize our debate and expand the range of options we can imagine. An unfair request of an ge volume? Perhaps we are all guilty of the temptation to make fruitful analysis interminable. But we can dream, and imagine future dreams worth dreaming.

      Independent Psychoanalysis Today

      When important ideas find effective expression, nothing is ever the same again—a touchstone of belief in our work. Thus the pleasure of introducing colleagues to this volume is considerable, a disruptive and impassioned desire.

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      Direct inquiries to the chair of the Publications Committee. Most working analysts, complex creatures that we are, have parts of ourselves that feel queasy about this wrinkle in our professional culture—we know, at least, that it is not one of our finer contributions—and, at the same time, are bound up in our histories, experiences, loyalties, and never fully analyzed blind spots Thus, it is not without some sympathy, but also not without some disquiet, that we observe that the freedom of thought that makes this volume such a generative pleasure stops with a more substantive and direct encounter with Lacanian thinking.

      Downing, D. Psychoanalytic-friendly universities and programs. Other Publications Journals Newsletters. Many major universities have been restructured to facilitate interdisciplinary work. The impetus is for the abolition of discipline based departments and the re-configuring of medical faculties in terms of interdisciplinary research groupings scientists working on similar problems regardless of their discipline of origin.

      It is likely that many basic questions that psychoanalysts have not been able adequately to answer, such as how psychological therapy cures, will only be illuminated by interdisciplinary neuroscientific research. The last 30 years' advances in all the neurosciences have negated the reasons for the earlier psychoanalytic disregard of this field 6. Neuroscientists are no longer just concerned with cognitive disabilities or so-called organic disorders 7 , 8.

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      Recent reviews of neuroscientific work confirm that many of Freud's original observations, not least the pervasive influence of non-conscious processes and the organizing function of emotions for thinking, have found confirmation in laboratory studies 9 , If Freud were alive today, he would be keenly interested in new knowledge about brain functioning, such as how neural nets develop in relation to the quality of early relationships, the location of specific capacities with functional scans, the discoveries of molecular genetics and behavioral genomics 11 and he would surely not have abandoned his cherished Project for a Scientific Psychology 12 , the abortive work in which he attempted to develop a neural model of behavior.

      Genetics has progressed particularly rapidly, and mechanisms that underpin and sustain a complex gene-environment interaction belie early assumptions about constitutional disabilities In fact, for the past years the field of neuroscience has been wide open for input from those with an adequate understanding of environmental determinants of development and adaptation. It may be that the difficulty in pinpointing the curative factors in psychoanalytic treatment is directly related to the limitations of the uniquely clinical basis for psychoanalytic inquiry.

      The impact of psychoanalysis cannot be fully appreciated from clinical material alone. The repetition of patterns of emotional arousal in association with the interpretive process elaborates and strengthens structures of meaning and emotional response. This may have far-reaching effects, I would argue, even on the functioning of the brain and the expression of genetic potential. A range of studies have already suggested that the impact of psychotherapy can be seen in alterations in brain activity, using brain imaging techniques 14 - These studies as a group provide a rationale for the hope that intensive psychoanalytic treatment might meaningfully affect biological as well as psychological vulnerability.

      This field is in its infancy but is progressing so fast that it seems highly likely that many future psychoanalytic discoveries about the mind will be made in conjunction and collaboration with biological science. Whilst clinical psychoanalysis needs little help in getting to know an individual's subjectivity in the most detailed way possible, when we wish to generalize to a comprehensive model of the human mind, the discipline can no longer exist on its own.

      A general psychoanalytic model of mind, if it is to be credible, should be aligned with the wider knowledge of mind gained from a range of disciplines.