Australasian Journal Of Psychotherapy
NO.2 - 2007
On the cover of this issue we have reproduced, by arrangement with Paterson Marsh Ltd of London, Sergei Pankeiev’s wolf dream drawing from Freud’s ‘History of an Infantile Neurosis.’ My opening sentence is intended to evoke questions about the complexity of issues of ownership in psychoanalytic life writing—whose life is being drawn? Who owns the pictures and the stories? Whose dream is it anyway? Each of the papers in this issue in some way addresses these questions.
Leonardo Rodriguez’s paper stakes out a contemporary claim on the dream of psychoanalysis—that it is as much ours now as it was Freud’s then. Rodriquez opts to discuss the dream of Irma’s injection as the one most influential in the development of psychoanalysis, highlighting Freud’s efforts to unravel truths about himself from the dream, uncomfortable things opaque to him made otherwise through the penetrating psychoanalytic method of enquiry. Robin Truda’s paper addresses the issue of nightmares as the navel or blind spot of Freud’s dream theory. Gill Straker strives to make opacity translucent in her discussion of Lacanian theory and practice from the viewpoint of an analysand struggling with the task of ending an analysis with insight into the impossibility of fullness of attainment. Such relinquishment may result in the analysand unexpectedly coming into a realisation of other, previously forbidden, forms of enjoyment. So it may be found that there is something to be gained for all the pain of the experience of such destitution. In her poem, Susan Laganza offers us her own dream as simultaneously a wish fulfilment and a relinquishment of the desire for the lost object made whole again. Paul McEvoy warns us of the costs we may bear in making ourselves available for use as carriers of the burden of our patient’s projections, and in the process demonstrates the possibility of writing of his and colleagues’ experience of relating to patients in a manner that is respectful of patient’s ownership of their narratives and affective experiences and of the necessity for the sake of both parties to the intersubjective field of the therapy that the therapist return the ownership to the patient.
Priscilla Maxwell gives us a taste of what we might expect when Antonino Ferro visits next year. She innovatively interweaves a review of Dr Ferro’s writing with transcripts of the analyst’s spoken responses, those that he offered her in a recent interview. Ferro’s concern for the privacy and autonomy of his patient’s is stated clearly in the context of a commitment to his singular style of writing about clinical material.
Elisabeth Hanscombe’s paper on autobiographical psychoanalytic life writing offers a critical review of the genre with respect to questions of narcissism, and in the process addresses issues that are also of relevance to psychoanalytic writing about clinical material, including the question that I raise, following Lawrence Johnson, in my review of his book The Wolf Man’s Burden—whose life is it that is being written, and what are the implications of that? Consideration of this question has prompted me to expand our notes to contributors in the current issues, stating the Journal’s policy with respect to writing about clinical material, one which closely follows that of the International Journal of Psychoanalysis.
Don Meadows’ review offers a careful comparison of two new books on reading Freud-Jonathon Lear’s and Tony Thwaites’. The review concludes by highly recommending both books for different readerships with different purposes. Paul Coombe offers a review of Psychoanalytic Ideas and Shakespeare, edited by Inge Wise and Maggie Mills.
I offer my thanks again to Ruth Mann for her work on the cover design and to Paterson Marsh, Ltd, of London, for their generous permission to reproduce Sergei Pankeiev’s drawing—that of the Wolf Man’s dream.