Paul’s Organizing Transference
A year into therapy and following a lively discussion about Paul’s parents and some difficult relationships he was having at work Paul and I began to formulate some important aspects of his organizing transference.
Paul: As people encounter me, I subtly behave in ways so as to discourage or at least not to encourage the connection. I feel this scary, paranoid distortion and I am unable to bridge it by showing kindness, warmth, or generosity or by being at ease with the other person. In this distortion I feel that they don’t like me, or that they want to use me, to abuse me, or to cheat me. I then subtly withdraw. This so clearly comes from my relationship with Louise.
Larry: I hear you saying that when a person, perhaps even a neutral person, who neither loves nor hates you moves into your life and is giving neutral or perhaps even luke warm “getting acquainted” responses, your paranoid delusions take over and you feel that they hate you or want you dead‑‑like with Louise.
Paul: And then I am stuck. I can’t go across any bridges. My distortion makes me afraid, and so we play a standoff game. I’m scared of them and they of me. Unless that person clearly and affirmatively reaches out we are not sure if we can trust each other. I can’t initiate warmth and generosity, no way. The best people can see of me is that I’m withdrawn and scared‑‑even if they see I have an honest intent.
Larry: It’s not just that you’re shy and afraid?
Paul: No. I’m clearly forbidden to reach out. It’s as though there is a force field from outer space that paralyzes my brain. Injecting terrified anxiety feelings into me. An outside force setting up an overriding terror which totally prevents me from sharing intimately, warmly, generously, affectionately, or presenting myself in a positive light. I have to be passive, awaiting their judgments and pronouncements on me, which are bound to be bad. Even if their estimations of me aren’t negative at first, I make them bad. I actively make people see me in a bad light. That’s the important part‑‑I force people to see me as bad.
Larry: I have the image of two people with neutral or lukewarm feelings toward one another, wanting to get to know each other, and slowly approaching each other as though they are getting ready to do a relationship dance. It’s as if there are invisible tendrils of relatedness silently reaching out…
Paul: (Interrupting) And I have scissors that snip them off!
Larry: But how is this accomplished?
Paul: I interrupt. I don’t let people finish their sentences. I give people the cold shoulder. I make them see me as a miserable wreck. I make them hate me.
Larry: You are telling me that you actually cut off what might become a warm flow between you and someone else of ideas and feelings. You cut off the tendrils of relationship, because of the Leonard and Louise living inside. You snip off the connections. The Louise you identified with in infancy, who is still living inside of you, has snipped those connections, has forced the relatedness flow to stop. You are saying that you comply with the inner Louise’s instructions to destroy the interpersonal links, the potential tendrils of real connection which might allow for friendship and love. Alternatively, you make people somehow feel cut off from you, confused, or lost track of.
The Banquet of Flesh: A Central Relational Image
Paul has many ways of devaluing himself in personal interactions with his recurring belief that others see him as an ineffective, weak, confused, miserable wreck. The images, the people involved, and the negative qualities vary considerably, but the downward spiral of Paul’s line of self-criticism during many sessions invariably drones on in a similar vein ending with the surprise line directed at me–“and you think so too!” The accusation effectively ruptured any sense of connection we had at the time because I felt regularly obligated to address it.
By the time we had spent three years together I had gone through various phases of responding to this challenge regularly thrown at me. In the early phases I would protest that I had no such view, that in fact I liked him very much, saw him as quite competent, and respected him in every way, and so forth–depending on whatever barrage of self-criticism he had just unleashed and whatever I could honestly state at the moment. But Paul always “had” me in some way or another because he could quickly quote something potentially critical that I had indeed said earlier in the session or on some previous occasion. He would give the line a deadly negative twist to prove that I indeed did think ill of him. That he was right, that it was true that I saw him as a sloppy miserable wretch or/as a ne’er do well too.
At first I would go into momentary confusion at Paul’s seemingly deliberate mis-interpretation of what I had said. Then I learned to confront him and to dispute what he was imputing to me–and then to reaffirm him. But these downward spirals of self-criticism followed by a gauntlet thrown to me continued. At times I tried to go with whatever negativity might have been implicit in my former comments. But then I would attempt to show Paul that my meaning was essentially positive–but he would remain unconvinced, nonplussed, or skeptical. After a while I got frustrated and tried to point out the double bind Paul put me in on these occasions. At other times I would get angry with Paul insisting that he was deliberately distorting what I had said or done—just to irritate me! Then I would try to show what his motivation might be for needing to see me as a harsh critic of his at this particular point in time. I tried various ways of exploring meanings, of looking for contextual cues and of attempting to align Paul on the side of studying the interaction–all to little avail. Something critical was not yet understood. Whenever I was indeed impatient or irritated I did my best to cop to it, but mere acknowledgement of my ill feelings toward Paul struck him as superficial and forced. I saw him as a needy wretched creature, hated him, and wanted him dead–that was that.
Eventually I could feel myself squarely in Paul’s trap every time he laid it. I simply lapsed into looking at him inquisitively in response, trying to get him to elaborate what had just transpired between us and why. Paul wasn’t uncooperative in these searches for meaning, but he always somehow got back to the refrain that I indeed hated him and I that I had said it clearly in so many words, no matter how much I tried to deny it. Of course we tried in vain various transpositions of Louise and Leonard transference, all of which led up to the following events.
After a particularly social but frustrating weekend Paul had
the following dream:
I was going somewhere with Jerry (whose passivity all weekend had messed up a series of plans). Like we were in some European city, maybe Paris, and were supposed to be going to eat at this rather elegant cafe or restaurant. When we arrived we were shown the sideboard where two live horses were laid out, sedated with their eyes covered so they couldn’t see what was happening. We were handed these knives or meat cleavers and a plate in a nonchalant way. Like what you were supposed to do for your dining pleasure in this elegant bistro was to chop off chunks of meat–live flesh to eat. Like it was supposed to be some sort of delicacy and we were expected to simply go along with it. I recognized the scene as bizarre, as something I simply didn’t want to do. I was immediately nervous and began looking around, like maybe there was some vegetarian dish instead! I woke up very upset and began thinking about my relationship with Leonard.
In Paul’s associations to the dream he emphasized the element of passivity, that he was simply expected to go along with this horse’s ass kind of banquet. He and Leonard are always taking chunks out of each other’s flesh and it’s supposed to be okay, the proper and pleasurable way to relate. In the dream the two horses are laid out, sedated, and blindfolded so they won’t actually see or feel what is being done to them (the passive position). Paul could see that the underpinning was, of course, the scenarios with Louise in which each had to be the destruction of the other–but both pretended that everything was as it should be. Paul said that he has always felt forced to passively comply with this bizarre and monstrous feasting on flesh that was in vogue in his family.
My interpretations focused in a congratulatory way on Paul’s actively deciding to turn away from his life-long pattern of feasting on flesh–this scenario of mutual cannibalism–to something different, namely to nourishing and healthy vegetables. We processed this dream in a variety of ways for several sessions.
A week later Paul started into another one of his downward spirals of self-criticism. By now well-accustomed to the horror of watching Paul rip himself limb from limb in these tirades, I watched with the fresh image of a flesh-eating banquet in the back of my mind. This time I saw the gauntlet coming a good three minutes before it landed squarely in front of me. I was lying in wait, in almost open-mouthed amazement, watching Paul’s downward spiral of self-effacement with horror, knowing he would soon launch his surprise attack on me. I wish I could remember the exact content, but I was swimming in the increasing intensity of the moment. Paul suddenly looked up directly at me and said his usual, “and you think so too.” But I was ready. I went with it this time. I continued his vicious, destructive banter along the same content he had just provided me with. I told him with full intention and affect that it was true that I hated him, that he was indeed worthless, psychotic, delusional, despicable, a miserable wretch, and so forth. Paul was stunned. But grasping my ploy, he quickly added, “you take your pleasure and amusement from watching me tear myself down and slowly self-destruct.”
I immediately fell into a dark pit. In this quick and brief exchange we had deepened the emotional material to a horrifyingly new low. At some level I knew instantly that his accusation was true, whether I was consciously aware of it or not. Then Paul added, “and you do it so you can feel secure in your superiority.” I was truly stunned. I remember thinking, “I have to go here. This is about me. I have to let myself feel all of this.” And I did. As the two of us sat in momentary silence I let my body and my mind drop into the experience of taking my pleasure and amusement from watching Paul self-efface and self-destruct in front of my very eyes. I had to actively let myself enjoy his misery and pain so that I could feel secure in my superiority. Sinking rapidly, I got there—and I enjoyed it. I actually allowed a full sense of cannibalistic glee and destructiveness to overcome me. Paul tried to talk–but I waved him off to shut him up. My mind swam in timeless delight and horror–images of Caesars languishing in decadent delight in the Roman Circus swirled. I saw slaves being slaughtered and eaten alive by lions. I thought of Nero, of Rome Burning, of Hitler, of lines of Jews, the ovens, of Sade, of naked savages chewing on human bones, of children being mercilessly beaten, of psychotics being tortured by mindless gambits of sadistic therapists. Tears welled up in my eyes. My stomach churned in violent upheaval. I stammered trying to speak what I was experiencing–voice quaking, facing the wide-eyed Paul.
I slowly came to myself; “I can’t do it! I won’t do it! I refuse this God-forsaken banquet of flesh–show me the vegetables!” We laughed but were both taken aback–shaken by the truth and violence of the moment and by our mutual willingness to go there. Vegetables were a welcome comic relief.
“As a child, Paul, you had no choice. You were led to this flesh-eating banquet by the parents that you loved and trusted and then you were expected to partake. It was all that was offered. You had no way of knowing that there was a better way. You were drugged and blinded and told to eat. But I’m not a child. Nor am I passive. This flesh-eating banquet you lead me to is a bizarre horror and I will have nothing to do with it. I will not eat!”
I had to repeat the lines forcefully several times to rescue myself from the dizziness and emotional pull of the sadomasochistic pit, the swirling horrors, the timeless spinning, and the disgusting nausea of destruction. “I saw it. I felt it. It was terrifyingly real and horrible. I won’t go there with you. I absolutely will not!” But, of course, I had in fact already gone there with him.
When Paul was wakened from the dream by his refusal to be passively led into cannibalizing on chunks of flesh, I understood his anxiety as his fear of turning away from the table that has always been laid for him. When Paul tried once again to take me to that bizarre flesh-eating banquet table, I finally grasped at an experiential body level what has been perhaps Paul’s deepest truth. Terrified, horrified, I yelled, “horse’s ass, I won’t go there with you!” Paul and I were together at last. We both were refusing in our relationship to be passively traumatized by our internalized sadomasochistic parents.
Paul has for a lifetime feared relationships based on the template of a drugged and blinded cannibalistic scenario. He has experienced his emotional relationship with me according to the same pattern of abusive horrors. But until now Paul has been compelled to return repeatedly to being the self-destructing sacrifice for his internal parents’ amusement, pleasure, and self-aggrandizement. It was the only way of emotionally relating that Paul had ever learned, the only way of connecting to me that he knew. To connect meant to experience humiliating, self-abusive, masochistic surrender. For a lifetime intimate emotional relationships had been systematically avoided. To disconnect from all human contact is paramount to withering and dying. I had to experience with Paul the horror of my own deep psychological images and the ways in which I too sadistically cannibalized him—made my livelihood, took my self-satisfaction and security, off of his mutilated living flesh and blood. We were both sobered by the experience we had created together; the experience that told a truth we had neither before dared to articulate. Paul’s deep pattern was yielding at last—and mine as well.
Some Theoretical Considerations
From Freud’s analysis of Judge Shreber through Lacan’s analysis of the function of language in the Shreber case to Devoine and Gaudillière’s History Beyond Trauma (2004) there is general consensus that psychotic states are not psychoanalytically accessible by means of classical verbal interpretations. Grotstein (1994), however, reviews numerous reports of contact with and transformation of psychotic states that have indeed been achieved by psychoanalysts using expanded or modified forms of psychoanalytic technique. How can we understand that psychoanalysis can indeed be accomplished with primitive mental states although it is not achievable with traditional free association technique? What considerations must be addressed in devising alternative techniques?
The metaphor guiding Freud’s term psychoanalysis was borrowed from the chemistry of his day, that is, the notion of taking a complex compound and subjecting it to a treatment that would break the complex down into its elemental parts. For a lifetime Freud and those who were to follow him sought to define what those elemental ingredients of psyche might be and to devise theories and techniques of treatment that would serve to break down various psychic complexes, formulated along medical lines as diagnostic syndromes. As a result, the scope of psychoanalysis has steadily widened accompanied by endless modifications of theory and technique—each treatment, one might say, having been designed to analyze, to break down, different kinds of neurotic, narcissistic, borderline and psychotic complexes.
It will not be possible here to review Lacan’s radical reading of Freud or the brilliant use Devoine and Gautillière have made of Lacanian insights. Nor will it be possible to outline the dimensions of war and history and its many traumatic squealae discussed in their penetrating study. I will instead briefly outline the technical approach which I and a group of colleagues in Southern California have developed to address psychotic experience. I will be suggesting how Devoine and Gautillière’s theory and technical approach to the study of psychotic experience enriches our work and how hopefully our work can enrich theirs.
Studying hidden pockets of psychotic experience in locales far from obvious war zones might expectably lead to different ways of theorizing and working than studying massive psychotic experiences occurring in geographical zones clearly beset with war for centuries. Yet one of the reasons Devoine and Gautillière explicitly address History Beyond Trauma to Americans is to confront the denial implicit in the American claim that major wars have never been fought on our soil—a claim not only patently false to our history but abruptly challenged by the war we unwittingly found ourselves involved in on 9/11. The authors’ point is that the American psyche has always been deeply immersed in the traumas of war—although those traumas may take on veiled cultural variations well worth studying in themselves.
Rudolf Ekstein, one of my early mentors in the treatment of psychosis, was fond of reminding us that psychological theories are not so much statements of how things are as statements of what we intend to do in psychotherapy (1984). Each theory has been inevitably if not arbitrarily chosen to enable one’s purposes and intentions. How can we compare intentions that have been engendered on vastly different soils? In order to do so we might do well to set aside momentarily the specifics of theoretical formulation and move directly to therapeutic intention—here the desire to alleviate human suffering occasioned by socially-inflicted trauma.
Freud viewed trauma as an experience in which the ego, the personal agency operative at the moment, becomes overwhelmed and rendered dysfunctional by over-stimulation. His early work was focused on the impact of external over-stimulation (as in sexual molest) while his later work tended toward the impact of internal over-stimulation (as in drives or internal objects). Metaphors devised to formulate the workings of trauma are: repression, splitting, or dissociation of experience; blocking, locking or freezing of experience; failure to ingest, digest or metabolize experience, and the absence, wiping out or foreclosure of experience. Each of these notions has been used in differing nosological contexts with varying therapeutic intents.
My own work has considered theories more as lenses or perspectives that allow us to gather and organize data in particular ways that serve particular intents. The concept “organizing transference” emerged from the psychotherapeutic study of a diverse array of human relational possibilities that could be conceptualized once self-and-other developmental perspectives emerged in psychoanalysis (Hedges 1983, 1994a,b, 2000, 2003, 2005).
Abandoning the epistemological bias of the natural sciences toward ultimately discovering the objective truths of the universe, the developmental “listening perspective” approach has favored the Wittgensteinian line of formulating theory as frames devised to aid one in seeing things in certain ways, frames that allow experiencing the world in various chosen intentional contexts.
The listening perspective approach begins with two people coming together in a professional setting. How do each of these two individuals, one designated speaker and the other listener, experience and relate to each other. The general assumption of the listening perspectives approach is that each human mind has historically developed in direct response to the possibilities offered by its relational contexts. Each person is thus seen as evolving unique capacities for relational style and complexity—and, consequently, an accompanying array of developmentally-determined transference and resistance possibilities.
By 1983 studies of developmentally-based relational possibilities seemed to me to fall into four major watersheds offering four distinctly different ways of “listening”—in the sense of being relationally or intersubjectively present with the intent of understanding how analytic speaker and listener are each experiencing with the other their relational possibilities at any given moment in time. The listening perspectives I defined were derived from a century of psychoanalytic studies that suggested four major watersheds of intersubjective possibility:
- Freud’s initiated studies of triangular relating possibilities that emerged in the late Oedipal period.
- Kohut and others have focused on the developmentally earlier issues leading to the consolidation of a sense of self—a self that serves either to enhance or to disturb the possibilities for complex triangular relating.
- Balint, Mahler, Kernberg, Winnicott and a host of others have offered formulations for listening to a variety of yet earlier learned dyadic relational issues.
- Ferenczi, Klein, Sullivan, Fromm-Reichman, Will, Searles, Grotstein, Tustin, and others have worked to provide listening contexts for the earliest “organizing” of human relational possibilities.
Defining four listening perspectives as ways of being alert to the real, the transferred and the resisted experiences of the moment on both sides of the couch has aided me greatly in my clinical work, my supervision, my teaching and my writing. The focus of this communication is the earliest “organizing” listening perspective devised collectively by many for attending to life’s most basic relational challenges.
Metaphorically speaking, the earliest human relational experiences are imagined to be those of a fetus or neonate striving to organize her experiences of environmental exchange—to discover and explore the possibilities of otherness, if you will. Winnicott spoke of the experience of essential continuity as that of “going on being” and of the impact of impingements that force the infant precociously into persecutory modes of organizing experience. He further spoke of experiences that were too strong to be “digested” or “metabolized” or that were effectively “frozen” awaiting “awakening” in a later therapeutic relational environment.
My own favorite metaphor has been that of a baby with a thousand invisible tendrils attempting to reach out to and organize a clear sense of what its relational possibilities are. Those reaching attempts that are met in a timely and satisfying manner form the basis for the development of attachment experiences and symbiotic relational scenarios. But those reaching attempts that are not adequately met wither to nothingness and those that meet pain sharply constrict and close off.
This schema of how human mental activity organizes, as it were, by reaching out toward and retreating from relational experiences suggests a moment-by-moment way of listening to (of being with) another person so that prior learned movement toward and retreat from relational experience can be registered and perhaps worked with as transference and resistance phenomena. Further, this definitional schema of “organizing experience” suggests how an analytic speaker and listener may be able to learn to track each other’s momentary attempts to reach out and connect with each other as well as to learn how to track each other’s frightened or suppressive attempts to avoid, block or rupture connections. Experience suggests that tracking the movement toward and the retreat from interpersonal connecting experiences is clinically fruitful at both the micro level—the moment-to-moment process—and the macro level—the process over days, weeks, months and even years of the relationship.
From History Beyond Trauma
In considering the moments with Paul I have reported here, Devoine and Gautillière’s (2004) work provides a way of formulating symptoms as revealing the rupture of transmission of social links. Paul’s symptoms were, of course, the many ways he had of “snipping” tendrils of possible connection to others, including various forms of mentally going numb himself. Paul’s family history made clear that these kinds of ruptures had been passed down at least three generations of immigrants of a persecuted minority group from Eastern Europe. Devoine and Gautillière’s understanding of the transference points towards the inscription of pieces of suppressed rather than repressed history that were responsible for those symptomatic ruptures. Given my English and Scotch ancestry planted on American soil in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, one might speculate on the signifiers that emerged in my countertransference reverie.
My mind swam in timeless delight and horror–images of Caesars languishing in decadent delight in the Roman Circus swirled. I saw slaves being slaughtered and eaten alive by lions. I thought of Nero, of Rome Burning, of Hitler, of lines of Jews, the ovens, of Sade, of naked savages chewing on human bones, of children being mercilessly beaten, of psychotics being tortured by mindless gambits of sadistic therapists.
These sadomasochistic images all entail people who consider themselves superior watching on with relish while those they consider inferior are systematically tortured and descimated—Certainly the position of the white American male; certainly the inverse of the position I experienced in childhood vis-à-vis my abusive parents.
Four technical dimensions employed by Devoine and Gautillière that were first spelled out by the war psychiatrist, Thomas W. Salmon , help us understand the intensity of the interactions I experienced with Paul. Examples in History Beyond Trauma richly illustrate the use of these principles “as a rigorous foundation for the dynamics of a transference aimed at the creation of a new social link on the ruins of loyalty and hence of speech” (p. 116, emphasis added).
The Salmon principles of clinical intervention are straightforward and impelling:
2. Immediacy creates a living temporality in contact with urgency.
3. Expectancy constructs a welcome to the return from hell.
4. Simplicity emphasizes the obligation to speak without jargon.
A Swiss Example
As a special tribute to our Swiss hosts today, rather than using illustrative signifiers from cases presented by Devoine and Gautillière, I will turn instead to the courageous pioneering psychoanalytic work of the eminent Swiss psychoanalyst Madame Sechehaye (1951).
Sechehaye reports on her treatment of Renée, a profoundly schizophrenic girl, that continued almost daily for seven and a half years beginning in 1930 when Renée was almost 18. It included outpatient and inpatient work as well as extended periods of profound regression requiring intensive care in nursing homes and at times in the home of her analyst. The case was reported to the Psychoanalytical Society of Lausanne in 1944 and published in English in 1951 with an appendix stating that “Renée has not only remained cured, without any recurrences of pathology, but her personality has continued to develop and has gained in strength” (p. 144). It will surprise no one here today to hear that Renée’s two early fragmentations into deep psychosis were introduced in the first instance by a reference to the Battle of Trafalgar (p. 42) and in the second instance by two associations: “The horror is great in the midst of war…. [and] In the Middle Ages there were many soldiers” (p. 46). Unfortunately, these brief references to war and soldiers stand only as reported aspects of her beginning fragmentation without further development by Mme. Sechehaye.
In the Forward to the book Dr. Charles Odier describes Sechehaye’s early struggles to work with René until she received a “flash of illumination” that came in the form of a syllogism:
1. When I explain to Renée verbally the symbolism of her thoughts and symptoms and when I attempt to translate it into rational terms, she does not understand. For her it is Chinese. Instead of convincing and calming her, my learned interpretations only confuse and exasperate her.
2. I deduce from this that we do not speak the same language.
3. Consequently, I must speak to her in her very own language and not in mine. It is the doctor who must adapt himself to the patient, not the reverse.
This simple reasoning was the basis of a discovery [continues Odier] : The discovery of the method of the realization of the symbol. Or more precisely: of the symbolic realization of the fundamental emotional demands—demands which due to their original [traumatic] frustration had persisted and were constantly revived. Up till now, Renée did her utmost to satisfy them through an imaginary and indirect mode, that is to say, by means of deliria and hallucinations. From then on Mrs. Sechehaye exercised her ingenuity—and with what persistence!—in giving those demands real and concrete satisfaction, through a direct and childish mode. The process appropriate to calming and enchanting an unhappy child was likewise appropriate for bringing about Renée’s cure. This process was none other than the substitution of plain and lucid satisfaction for the delirious and blind one (p. 13).
Time does not permit a review of Sechehaye’s brilliant and fascinating case study, but as I read her text I see a series of signifiers emerging that at first are totally enigmatic to the therapist. Slowly through drawings and juxtapositions of interactive events each signifier is seen to be a fulcrum of personal experience and meaning that is then expanded by two in much the same way as described by Devoine and Gautillière in their work. While the theoretical notions Sechehaye formulates are different from what we might call today a Lacanian perspective, on one point she is insistently clear—it is the gradual accession to the realities afforded by the symbol, the signifier, the signifying chain—in short, by speech that provide the cure.
Trauma in Renée’s infancy as well as later childhood had foreclosed the possibility of integrated personality development so that when the superficially created ego shell crumbled in adolescence she was left, as are other trauma survivors, with foreclosed experience that could not be spoken until those fundamentally human experiences were somehow made real in a here-and-now therapeutic relationship. Make no mistake—the cure is not in the gratifications of a warm therapeutic response, but in the frustrating and rewarding reality of accession to the symbol which the therapist, like the good-enough mother of infancy, insists on delivering into to the mind of the child.
For example, green apples serve for Renée as the signifier for a host of experiences around the breast. No amount of talk or baskets of available real green apples allow either eating or therapeutic progress until the actual experience of satisfying nutrition is successfully linked with a proliferation of needed personally nurturing responses directly from the therapist thus allowing realization of the symbol.
Throughout Sechehaye’s text one can trace the movement toward and the movement away from organizing interpersonal connections with the clear indication that therapeutic progress is made when a signifier comes into focus in their connected relationship—a signifier that expresses some real aspect of human need and a satisfyingly real human response—or in Sechehaye’s words, “when the symbol becomes realized.”
As Devoine and Gaudillière make manifestly clear in their monograph, our work is not only complex and enigmatic but always quite astonishing and rewardingly real!
Modjeska Canyon, California
Devoine, F. and Gaudillière, J. (2004). History Beyond Trauma. New York: Other Press.
Ekstein, R. (1984). Prolegomena to study the languages of psychoanalysis and psychotherapy. Paper presented at the Newport Center for Psychoanalytic Studies, Newport Beach, CA. October.
Grotstein, J. (1994). Foreword. In Working and Organizing Experience by L. Hedges, pp. xvii-xxxiii. Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson.
Hedges, L.E. (1983,2003). Listening Perspectives in Psychotherapy. Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson.
——— (1994a). In Search of a Lost Mother of Infancy. Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson.
——— (1994b). Working the Organizing Experience: Transforming Psychotic, Schizoid, and Autistic States. Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson.
——— (2000b). Terrifying Transferences: Aftershocks of Childhood Trauma. Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson.
——— (2005). “Listening Perspectives for Emotional Relatedness Memory.” Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 25:455-483
Sechehaye, M. A. (1951). Symbolic Realization: A New Method of Psychotherapy Applied to a Case of Schizophrenia. New York: International Universities Press.
Shepard, B. (2000). A War of Nerves: Soldiers and Psychiatrists in the Twentieth Century. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
In the extended version of this case report (Hedges, 2000) I am able to show Paul how he is in fact doing what he is talking about to me during the process of this hour and how my tendency has been to comply with his constant severing of connection between us.
Neuropsychology and infant research now confirm the universal human condition of a high frequency of failed reaching attempts in early life so that simple conditioning theory predicts significant atrophy of human relational capacities. Indeed neuroscience has recently demonstrated massive “pruning” of neurons early in life, presumably due to non-stimulation and/or pain-induced underutilization. But whatever is “really” going on, clinical experience suggests that all humans to a greater or lesser degree are conditioned to withdraw from or foreclose various kinds of intimate relational experience in response to socially-induced trauma. And that the individual bases for withdrawal from or foreclosure of relational experience are usually traceable to (1) unsatisfying and/or painful experiences in infancy or (2) ungratifying and/or traumatic experiences later in life.