Australasian Journal Of Psychotherapy
NO.2 - 2012
This edition of the Australasian Journal of Psychotherapy is brought to you with great pleasure. Gathered here are papers that broadly share the themes of generativity, nurturance, and the blighting thereof, hence our cover photo, which introduces this focus on potentiality and unfolding. In the eponymous words of Carmel Cairney’s young patient (see this volume), “You have to protect your jewels”, and we see in the papers collected here explorations of the various ways in which psychoanalysts, past and present, parents, and indeed governments, have protected, or not, fledging ideas, infants and children, and distressed cultures, bringing to bear influences both benign and blighting.
Pamela Nathan has waited patiently to see her paper in print, but it is as pertinent today as when it was first read to a hushed audience at the PPAA conference in Queenstown, New Zealand, three years ago. As a “whitefella” treading the fraught terrain of the Northern Territory Intervention, reflecting on the value of psychoanalytic thinking in working with violence and abuse in Indigenous communities, her sensitivity and ethical integrity are to be honoured.
Changing the lens from the macro to the micro is Carmel Cairney’s thoughtful paper about her therapeutic work with abused and neglected children, where her careful, and kind, blending of interpretive and non-interpretive modalities assists her young patient to internalise the good object of her therapist, develop the capacity to think about and integrate her overwhelming experiences, and begin to flourish.
Maurice Apprey brings a closely rendered and moving account of the problematic internalisation of an abusive parent, in this case a murderous father, who compromises the resolution of his son’s oedipal issues. Like Carmel, Maurice skillfully draws on several strands of European psychoanalytic theory to make sense of his case material.
An historical perspective on the parentage of new ideas is seen in Oscar Zentner’s thoughtful examination of the evolution of Freud’s theories concerning drive and instinct. The father of psychoanalysis was influenced, as Ocsar persuasively argues, by the work of the young training analyst Sabina Speilrein, Jung’s patient, and probable lover, who anticipated Freud’s theories by some years, but became a forgotten casualty of Freud’s personal and theoretical ‘divorce’ from Jung.
In contrast, the last paper by Mary Cameron, concerning the mothers group she co-led with Margaret Goodchild, offers a beautiful exemplar of analytic attunement, mirroring and containment. The interactions of a group of new, somewhat vulnerable, mothers and their infants are held and thought about over time by the group leaders, so that the mothers’ capacity to hold their babies more steadily in mind is facilitated.
Reviewer Anne Jeffs is inspired by a series of papers collected in The Significance of Dreams: Bridging Clinical and Extraclinical Research in Psychoanalysis. She is impressed by the interweaving of current neuroscience and clinical perspectives on the subject, the book strengthening her capacity as a therapist to “going on thinking” about dreams and the unconscious world they allow us to enter.
Meanwhile Elisabeth Hanscombe resonates with a difficult journey from child to adult, told in The Fifth Principle, the memoir of Paul Williams, psychoanalyst turned subject. His surprising, and blunt, “principle” of “Fuck it!” will challenge some readers, and energise others.
While left questioning Bernard Brandschaft’s jettisoning of many of the theories that have developed from Object Relations, Carol Bolton still finds much to admire and be thoughtful about in Toward an Emancipatory Psychoanalysis, an annotated collection of this ground breaking psychoanalyst’s essays.
And finally, Sally Young reviews Prophesy Coles’ book, The Uninvited Guest from the Unremembered Past: An exploration of the unconscious transmission of trauma across generations, praising the writer for bringing to our awareness the “emotional ghosts” that are too often forgotten in clinical work and theory.
Beyond the obvious need for growing subscriptions, journals thrive when readers think about, and openly debate, the articles they find in them. If you are stimulated, or irritated, by the ideas between these covers, I encourage you to send me a letter or email. An invitation is also extended to consider submitting a manuscript for inclusion for future editions of AJP. Both clinical and theoretical papers are welcome, as is creative writing.
Lastly, a warm thanks to Elisabeth Hanscombe, who is the Book Review Editor, for support in producing this volume, and to those who kindly agreed to review papers.
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