The Logics of Madness: On Infantile and Delusional Transference

Author(s) : Salomon Resnik

The Logics of Madness: On Infantile and Delusional Transference

Book Details

  • Publisher : Routledge
  • Published : February 2016
  • Cover : Paperback
  • Pages : 128
  • Category :
  • Catalogue No : 37625
  • ISBN 13 : 9781782203780
  • ISBN 10 : 1782203788

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In this book, Salomon Resnik describes his psychoanalytic work with psychotic patients and the logic that underlies their often-delusional constructions. He explores how the concept of psychosis has evolved over time and shows how the delusional world, with its proto-symbolic equations, may amount to a philosophy of life. Clinical examples taken from his own clinical work, both in individual psychoanalysis and in group therapy with schizophrenic patients, illustrate his theses.

In his exploration of the psychotic ego and multi-dimensionality, he shows how his work is a continuation of the ideas initially put forward by psychoanalysts such as D. W. Winnicott, Melanie Klein and Hanna Segal, as well as how much it owes to his own analysis with Herbert Rosenfeld and supervision with Wilfred Bion. For Resnik, working with psychotic patients amounts to an “archaeology of the present”. He discusses in detail such concepts as narcissistic depression, the atmosphere of the psychoanalytic encounter, the role and impact of dreams in psychosis, and the dimensionality of the psychotic universe. His development of the idea of maternal (holding function) and paternal reverie, with its organizing and structuring function, is ground-breaking, and his comments on Fairbairn's description of the early splitting of the ego throw a new light on hysterical phenomena in the psychoses.

Reviews and Endorsements

‘Whereas thought disorder is simply a symptom that psychiatrists look for, there is a long tradition within psychoanalysis of unpacking psychotic symptoms in order to give them sensible meanings – that is, sensible for the patient in their petrified world. This tradition for making the irrational into rational expression started with Freud and Jung – and it is a tradition that is alive and well in Salomon Resnik’s work. The ability to make sense of delusions takes long experience, but the capacity to convey that sense convincingly and clearly to a reader requires even more experience and talent. This is what the present book does – it treats the utterances of psychotic patients as a literary text, to be unravelled for all its pregnant associations. Delusions become subtle illusions. This capacity to translate insanity into an emotional sanity is at its peak here, and there is a kind of awe in following Resnik’s virtuosity. More than this we need to learn his art of translation, of visiting each patient’s own world as a foreign land. Not only should psychoanalysts interest themselves in this art; but psychoanalysts have some responsibility for getting psychiatrists interested too.’
- R.D. Hinshelwood, Professor, Centre for Psychoanalytic Studies, University of Essex

About the Author(s)

Salomon Resnik, MD, became a member of the International Psychoanalytical Association in 1956, after specializing in work with autistic children and young schizophrenic patients. He then studied anthropology and philosophy in Paris with Merleau-Ponty, Lévy-Strauss and Bastide. In 1958, he went to London to work with Melanie Klein and underwent analysis with Herbert Rosenfeld, supervised by W.R. Bion and Esther Bick, from whom he gained a new insight into child and adult analysis. In the same year, he began working with some of the pioneers of group analysis, including S.H. Foulkes, Malcolm Pines and Patrick De Mare. He has worked for many years with groups of psychotics in Argentina, England and Paris, and for ten years worked as a consultant psychiatrist in Verona at the Santa Giuliana Hospital. A former senior lecturer in psychiatry at the University of Lyon, France, and Visiting Professor at the medical school of the Catholic University of Rome, he was also a practising psychoanalyst in Paris and Venice.

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