Sunday, October 11, 2009


James Fosshage, PhD, spent Saturday, October 10, 2009 at the Tampa Bay Psychoanalytic Society, Inc. (TBPS). A portion of the afternoon was dedicated to his paper, "Searching for Love & Expecting Rejection: Implicit & Explicit Dimensions in Cocreating Analytic Change," (2007. Psa Inquiry. 27:326-347).

Classical aspirations to neutrality, abstinence, and anonymity have been replaced with the recognition that an analyst’s subjectivity inevitably intrudes into the analytic space, making unachievable, these three traditional pillars. One might then ask about the aspect of responding to invitations to subjectivity.

Fosshage noted that when an analyst offers, in a “moment of meeting” (Boston Change Process Study Group), a genuine and authentic response to a patient’s declaration of love, instead of interpreting such declarations, a loving relationship can be co-created. A sufficiently loving relationship leads to changes in traumatic organizing patterns. Furthermore, these changes bring about a decreased activation of the old organizing patterns. Likewise, they increase a patient’s ability to move more quickly away from activated traumatic organizing patterns.

Old organizing patterns recede and are replaced in the foreground by the newer, more vitalizing, relational patterns experienced reliably in the analytic dyad, and co-created both via implicit and explicit communications. Feeling loved and respected contributes to a new feeling about self and about self-with-other. Since love is one of the feelings expectably engendered in a close, intimate relationship, though in the analytic relationship unrealizable in certain aspects (e.g. the prohibition against sexual contact), love, if not made explicit in the analytic dyad, can become tantalizingly unbearable.

Transformation then, Fosshage said, is achieved through the co-creation of new organizing relational patterns, not the least of which is co-creation of a sufficiently loving relationship.

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