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DeRosis, L.E. (1976). Old and New Psychotherapy: Discussion. Am. J. Psychoanal., 36(4):311-314.

(1976). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 36(4):311-314

Old and New Psychotherapy: Discussion

Louis E. DeRosis, M.D.

In his paper, Dr. Martin easily reflects the essential intimacy with, and exquisite sensitivity to, the pulse of being to which he alludes. This serves to strengthen the case he has developed in behalf of his findings and concepts.

For example, it is Dr. Martin's very sensitivity which supports and sustains the searching stance he has taken against all those institutions, both past and present, which comprise the greatest deterrents to the liberation of man. It is this same sense of intimacy with the world of matter and people that fortifies him in his cry for us to develop our power to explore and to encourage that exploration as one of the essential pursuits in the development of the child out there and the child in us.

In this point lies one of the central, if not the chief, expressions of our malaise. I refer to the fact that the heart of our disease is not our symptoms, our inhibitions, our conflicts, our phobias, or our obsessions. We sicken because the human spirit is kept from exploring. Routine, ritualized vegetating is the death of exploration. This is why the body and spirit become diseased and eventually die.

The issue, as I perceive it, is not so much the Socratic injunction to know thyself or Shakespeare's “to thine own self be true.” These are the prerequisites that are present if the child is undisturbed — that is, unharmed. Chief among the pathways toward evolving one's self is the penetration here and there, and always with great care, of the boundaries of one's being, in order to extend their limits. That is the meaning of growth and exploration and the means of deliverance.

During the course of my work with my patients, I often think of myself as a combination of Seeing-Eye dog and obstetrician. The moment the possibility of new growth is presented, the patient feels the pressure of the urge to try something else, something new. That urge is always accompanied by the rattle of anxiety and, even worse, of terror. At this point, I know that he is at a threshold where his aesthetic, intellectual, and creative capabilities are on the move. We try to be there, ready “to catch the baby.”

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