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Royston, R. (1985). Commentary by an Eclectic Psychoanalytical Psychotherapist. Brit. J. Psychother., 1(3):218-219.

(1985). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 1(3):218-219

Commentary by an Eclectic Psychoanalytical Psychotherapist Related Papers

Robert Royston

There are many workable approaches to a session. I find particularly useful one which concentrates on the form, on what the statements of both protagonists do and are, rather than on what they say. The form of the session, what the patient does, is often a type of enactment of unconscious themes. An understanding of form also quickly attacks resistance and is, I think, appropriate to the patient discussed here, whom I take to be in a phase of grudging engagement in the work of exploration.

At one point in the session discussed here, for example, the patient suddenly praises the therapist and predicts a marvellous cure. This comes after gloomy complaints about lack of progress and after opening comments to the general effect that the previous session was so discouraging as to be almost damaging. I suspect the praise is a reward to the therapist for his recent comment about the patient showing feeling in the session, a comment which rescinds the criticism passed in the last session.

The patient's praise, or so it appears, is accompanied by a rush of excitement. It embodies what I think R. Langs would call an offer of a misalliance, a nonanalytic ‘cure’ aimed at sealing off the pathology of both protagonists. The patient is saying the therapist's usual method will never effect a cure. He, the patient, just hasn't the puff. The therapy is not only damaging him, but the therapist too. A wise, good man he may be, but his adherence to the psychotherapy organisation and to analytic rules has turned him into a sadistic machine.

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