Wednesday, January 24, 2018

The Analyst's Hate

We see in Winnicott’s 1949 paper on hate a resonance with Bromberg’s contemporary ideas on sharing feelings we have about our patients with our patients. Bromberg writes about dissociation, both normal and pathological, in both patient and analyst and recommends the analyst work hard to bring dissociated feelings to the conversation.
The analyst must be prepared to bear strain without expecting the patient to know anything about what he is doing, perhaps over a long period of time. To do this he must be easily aware of his own fear and hate. ...Eventually, he ought to be able to tell his patient what he has been through on the patient's behalf …
And:
The analyst's hate is ordinarily latent and is easily kept latent. In analysis of psychotics the analyst is under greater strain to keep his hate latent, and he can only do this by being thoroughly aware of it. Now I want to add that in certain stages of certain analyses the analyst's hate is actually sought by the patient, and what is then needed is hate that is objective. If the patient seeks objective or justified hate he must be able to reach it…[for authenticity, to trust his own gut feelings, his own reality]

Winnicott, a pediatrician before becoming a psychoanalyst, was already aware of what more recent infant research has shown, and what Kohut later explicated and emphasized:
There is a vast difference between those patients who have had satisfactory early experiences which can be discovered in the transference, and those whose very early experiences have been so deficient or distorted that the analyst has to be the first in the patient's life to supply certain environmental essentials.

Winnicott was also aware of how psychic equivalence operated (as in Klein’s paranoid-schizoid position)  :
For the neurotic the couch and warmth and comfort can be symbolical of the mother's love; for the psychotic it would be more true to say that these things are the analyst's physical expression of love. The couch is the analyst's lap or womb, and the warmth is the live warmth of the analyst's body.

[Note that when, in this paper, Winnicott uses the term ‘psychotic’ he refers to Borderline personality structure; Also note that objectivity is no longer considered desirable -- even were it possible, but Winnicott may be indicating that the analyst stay in or, rather, eventually recover an analytic attitude that keeps the patient’s needs primary.]

Winnicott, D.W. (1949). Hate in the Counter-Transference. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 30:69-74.

1 comment:

Lisa Tolliver said...

I've been following, and enjoying reading your blog, for about 2 months now. I meant to comment before this! However, I'm prompted now, because I would very much like to read this post, but for some reason, 1/3 of it appears to be hidden off the right edge of your screen. Can this be fixed? Thanks and best regards. Lisa T.