The Therapy Womb, by Michael Eigen

Posted on Jun 16, 2017

Psychoanalytic Beauty and the Unborn Self

I remember the first one-on-one session I had with a patient when I began training. I felt I could breathe in an emotional atmosphere I had been looking for without knowing it. A new kind of atmosphere to live in, mind to mind, heart to heart, soul to soul, psyche to psyche, with all the quagmires, blocks, furies, longings and beauty therapy gives birth to.  Therapy wombs filled with therapy births and persistent conflict whether to be born or not, in what ways, with what price.  It can be confusing to be in and out of womb at the same time, but to be so, I feel, is a basic structure of our existence.

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Good People, Bad Politics

Last week I went to a conference about the most radical shift in the NHS you’ve never heard of. A conference about Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs), held by a well-known health policy and research foundation populated by the new generation of blue-suited corporate account managers and a few good people of a clinical persuasion. The beards have gone, but a glance around the room is sober confirmation about the consequences of ‘strong and stable’ leadership on diversity and class participation in public service debates.

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Further Reflections on Transference, Countertransference and Containment in Extreme Settings

Writing about clinical work with psychotic patients, Bion noted with his inimitably dry, understated irony: “It follows that it is a matter of difficulty for the analyst to conduct himself in such a manner that his association with the analysand is beneficial to the analysand”. In preceding passages he had discussed such patients’ hallucinated and deluded constructions, products of massive evacuations of both persecuting and idealising internal scenarios into external reality to an extent which obliterated awareness that there even might be differentiated and autonomous internal (unconscious phantasy) and external (material reality and other minds) worlds at all. Real other people, analysts and mental health professionals included, become so infused with patients’ projective identifications that everything they say or do is “interpreted” or “perceived” in a manner almost impossible to grasp when compared with their intentions.

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The Infant Observation Method as a Useful Tool for the Refinement of Psychoanalytic Listening

Our work which began almost 30 years ago, using and applying the infant observation method, has confirmed that the significant experience in infant observation promotes changes in the participants, as many trained professionals will testify; they feel a greater sensitisation to non-verbal communication, an increased reliance on intuition, a stimulus to the feelings and the imagination; greater contact with their own psychic reality and that of their patients. Their clinical work is transformed and they often say that they are more reflective before formulating interpretations.

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