Article first published online: 9 SEP 2013
© 2013, The Society of Analytical Psychology
Journal of Analytical Psychology
Volume 58, Issue 4, pages 451–453, September 2013
How to Cite
Carter, L. and Wright, S. (2013), Editorial. Journal of Analytical Psychology, 58: 451–453. doi: 10.1111/1468-5922.12026
- Issue published online: 9 SEP 2013
- Article first published online: 9 SEP 2013
We are delighted that so many of our readers were able to participate in the XIth international Journal of Analytical Psychology conference, Attachment and Intersubjectivity in the Therapeutic Relationship, held in Boston in April this year. This highly successful conference co-sponsored with the New England Society of Analytical Psychology, the Boston Jung Institute and the National Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis attracted attendees from all over the world. This generated a vibrant gathering, further stimulated by the input from our speakers: we hope that this enlivening sense of community will be perpetuated through our publication of many of the conference papers beginning with this issue.
Invited speakers included Malcolm Slavin who helped open the conference with a remarkable mixed-media slide show and talk, ‘The Music Knows: Grieving Existential Trauma in Art, Music and Psychoanalysis’. That evening event was followed the next day by Beatrice Beebe's two-session dynamic presentation integrating infant research and adult treatment; the first was ‘Infant Research: Microanalysis of Mother-Infant Interaction’ and the second, ‘Adult Treatment: Video Feedback Consultation for a Patient Who Does Not Look’. Our third guest was Bessel van der Kolk, the world-known trauma researcher, whose talk ‘The Body Knows the Score’ traced the history of trauma studies and treatment from World War I through the present time challenging us to consider a variety of new treatment modalities that are more inclusive of the body and non-verbal communication.
It has been interesting to discover the papers in this issue—perhaps influenced by the Boston conference theme—to be a commentary on analytic attitude or, perhaps, the attitude of the analyst. A summary of the papers shows how the lines of a debate begin to emerge.
The story begins with two previously unpublished papers by Michael Fordham, for which Elizabeth Urban has written a detailed commentary, setting them in their context of time and place and with her own perspective on the development of Fordham's thought. The first paper is an account of Dr. Fordham's analysis of a boy, with frank disclosure of how the treatment broke down despite a very favourable beginning. The second paper gives his thoughts and observations on transference and countertransference, based on his work with the patient called ‘K’, which has been discussed by James Astor (2007) and by ‘K’ himself (2007, 2008). As Urban notes: In both these pieces Fordham asks, implicitly in the first and explicitly in the second, ‘What does the analyst do?’ Urban observes that, despite Fordham's emphasis on understanding the patient via direct affective communications and ‘working out of the self’, he was unable to let go of his authority as the interpreter. The ‘equality’ of the analytic encounter that Fordham acknowledged was not conveyed to his child patient or to ‘K’ at crucial moments in their analyses, with traumatic effect.
In the first of the papers from the Boston conference, Warren Colman, writes about ‘Why I became a relational analyst’. He gives an account of influences from the British object relations school that influenced the new generation of interpersonal analysts in the USA, and also shaped his analytic approach. He claims, and outlines, an unacknowledged tradition for the relational approach within the UK, which emphasizes the social context in which the development of mind is embedded. He discusses the implications for analytic work: the analyst is not an objective observer with privileged access to the patient's unconscious, or to what is ‘real’. Meaning—within the unique shared reality of the particular analytic relationship—is co-constructed and negotiated. With greater elaboration of the analyst's participation in the encounter, a higher degree of self-disclosure may occur and there is an emphasis on the analyst's personal authenticity and spontaneity. This may lead to the transformational moments that the Boston Change Process Study Group has termed ‘moments of meeting’. Colman gives clinical illustrations for these ideas, and seeks to differentiate them from the approach, influenced by psychoanalysis, that Fordham instituted within the Society of Analytical Psychology in London when he warned against intrusive displays of personality by the analyst.
Jean Knox continues the theme with an exploration of the analyst's ‘feeling for’ and ‘feeling with’ the patient, and a detailed study of developmental and neuroscientific evidence on the effect of failures of empathy. She discusses early relational trauma and shame evoked in the infant by such failures, and mounting evidence that a ‘neutral’, or purely interpretative stance by the analyst may be unhelpful for patients with a history of trauma. She regards early relational trauma as commonplace, not exceptional; it may occur because of the unavailability of a reliable attachment figure to modulate early states of anxiety or distress. The micro-processes underlying such early relational trauma were illustrated during the conference by Beatrice Beebe. In a discussion of the nature of empathy, Knox illustrates and emphasizes the particular importance for traumatized patients of the analyst's ability to provide interactive affect regulation, as well as to ‘feel for’—to differentiate the patient's distress from his/her own feeling, and to maintain separate perspectives on self and other.
In the closing paper from the conference, Elizabeth Urban reflects on mind-in-the-making. She suggests that the interpretative analytic work which is part of our professional identity is based on a ‘three-dimensional configuration comprising two people with minds or, rather, minds-in-the-making, sharing interest in objects of thought and feeling (or lack of them)’. However, ‘this triangulation may or may not be held in the minds of our patients to any workable degree’. After giving illustrations to show the development of mind in infancy, Urban moves on to an account of her own work with two children. The first of these shows a live ‘mind-in-the-making’ event—a moment when triangulation is perceived, recognised and shared through interactive play and attention to an object with internal space. In the second account, she describes how, in a moment of working out of the self, she acknowledges an equality of feeling with her child patient—who, in the closing session of his analysis, has run along a row of chairs and confronted her eye to eye from a position of equal height. The ensuing observable developments in his mind occur ‘like a flash of neurological top-down/down-up connection’.
The final paper in this issue, by Barry Miller, is a clinical account of cheating and an exploration of the dilemma faced by the analyst who is confronted by ‘behaviour that may seem reprehensible’ from an external perspective, but who is engaged with the patient in the search for meaningfulness. He notes that ‘this is often the dilemma for an analytic approach, in many areas of human experience’. Miller explores the importance of the analyst's capacity to hold an experimental approach, allowing exploration of troubling conflicts in the patient's life and relationships so that new life may come, even though the new life ‘may have been completely unwanted and alien to the ego condition’. He illustrates how the process of psychological change may have to be lived outside the analytic frame, in what seems a destructive acting out, leaving the question as to ‘the possibilities of their containment within a more strongly boundaried, protected space, the temenos where these elements might come into life, holding destruction within a committed arrangement’.
What is to be the analyst's attitude towards apparently destructive psychic elements? This issue's papers respectively illustrate a range of approaches—Fordham's interpretative, Colman's relational, Knox's empathic, Urban's encounter of two authentic selves, Miller's non-judgemental. Our next issue in November will open with a paper by William Meredith-Owen challenging some of their assumptions: we hope this will spark a debate around analytic attitude into which you, representatives of the range of approaches within the Jungian community, will be stimulated to join.
We end with a thought about destructiveness. As a community, we were struck by the close proximity of both the timing of the conference and the location at the Boston Park Plaza in relation to the Marathon bombings. Most of us could picture where it all took place and felt a special connection to the city and to those affected by this terrible tragedy. There is a kind of belonging that takes hold when staying in a place away from home in that we influence and are influenced by our environment. Through this connection, we grieve for the families who lost loved ones and for the survivors who are in the long process of recovery. We support the spirit of the city and celebrate the motto ‘Boston Strong’.
- 2007). ‘Fordham, feeling, and countertransference: reflections on defences of the self’. Journal of Analytical Psychology, 52, 2, 185–205. (
- ‘K’ (2007). ‘What works?’ Journal of Analytical Psychology, 52, 2, 207–31.
- ‘K’ (2008). ‘Report from the borderland’. Journal of Analytical Psychology, 53, 1, 19–30.