Containing clinical examples of working in analysis with patients who need to experience pain in their intimate relationships, and cause pain in anyone who gets close to them, this book explores the feelings that can prevent people from finding comfort in their human relationships. Better yet, it shows how sensitive and experienced therapists have helped such difficult patients and by doing so provides a model of how to treat patients with this excruciating pathology. The differing theoretical perspectives provided by colleagues who have read the clinical material add ways to understand what happened in the testaments and ways to generalize the outcomes. --Arlene Kramer Richards, training and supervising analyst at the Contemporary Freudian Society, and author of Psychoanalysis: Listening to Understand
Exploring masochism and sadism, two of the most controversial and still partially enigmatic areas of the human pathological mind, this book utilizes contemporary psychoanalytic tools for a much more universal investigation at the boundaries between life and death. The space where analyst and patient interact daily becomes here the most advanced place for studying the roots and the ways of the painful human vicissitudes regarding violence, humiliation, cruelty, failure, sacrifice and hopelessness. Can two people, working together, give a new voice, from the profound to the eternal tragedies which affect the world? Yes, they can. This wonderful book shows how psychoanalysis today can help us in understanding many kinds of intrapsychic and interpersonal violence, from the most evident to the most subtly hidden and masked of them. --Stefano Bolognini, President of the Italian Psychoanalytic Society, and author of Secret Passages: The Theory and Technique of Interpsychic Relations
Dread lurks whenever one approaches the dark danse macabre where Love and Hate wear each other s mask. To practice analysis is to attend such a ball, and no theory can spare an analyst the horrors of sadomasochism. In this uncommonly engaging work, analysts gifted as both writers and clinicians illuminate the subject, candidly detailing clinical struggles when facing malevolent forces. With discussants of widely varied theoretical approaches, they cast new light on sadomasochism, indeed on the analytic process itself. To read this volume of rare depth and breadth is to join a fascinating and moving conversational master class where clinical experience provides the data and open inquiry prevails. The subject is pain; the reading, a pleasure. --Warren S. Poland, Poland, MD, psychoanalyst, author of Melting the Darkness, and recipient of the 2009 Sigourney Award
This book examines the forces of sadomasochism in the clinical domain where transference and countertransference reside. Psychoanalysts write in depth about cases where sadomasochism is present for both analysand and analyst. Four cases present the unfolding analytic exchange where life and death forces collide. Each case is accompanied by three discussions illuminating the complex phenomena that often include lifelong perversions and painful narcissistic difficulties. Through the case presentations and discussions, psychoanalytic therapists will find maps for guiding their own work with sadomasochistic processes. Treatments where sadomasochism is prominent abound with dramas containing control and denigration, domination, and submission. Often there is a history of over stimulation and under stimulation from infancy and childhood influencing the formation of object relations and unconscious fantasy.Since Freud first introduced the concepts of component instincts and psychosexual development, psychoanalysts have been exploring sadomasochism in its various forms. The belief that togetherness involves tormenting pain creates a sense of life and death struggle that is imbued with powerful instinctual gratification. Unconscious sexualized scenes of both dyadic and triadic forms carry humiliation and conquest. These analysands employ a variety of defenses, especially disavowal. The analyst's affective responses to the negation and attacks provide an opportunity to recognize conflicts and repetitions, and to move them into a symbolizing process. Contributions to the book come from a variety of psychoanalytic perspectives. Understanding of these sadomasochistic phenomena highlight psychoanalytic thinking about conflict, instinctual life, object relations, trauma, narcissistic vulnerability, primitive states, and perversion.