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Bishop, B. (2014). Anxiety, Symptoms and Containment: A Tale of Two Situations. Brit. J. Psychother., 30(1):106-116.

(2014). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 30(1):106-116

Anxiety, Symptoms and Containment: A Tale of Two Situations Related Papers

Bernardine Bishop

In this paper the author considers the relationship between anxiety, symptoms and containment. She notes that the securest of us feel what we can call mature anxiety. Physically, it is different from immature, pathological anxiety where development of a part or parts of the self has been arrested. Immature, pathological anxiety, which is encountered and treated in the consulting room, brings with it the bodily upset that is seen in anxiety. In the author's experience what we struggle with nowadays is far more likely to be variants of what we have come rather vaguely to call personality disorder. In this situation the anxiety, though intense, is diffused through the self, finding its fateful and addictive manifestations in relationships and their failure, identity problems, inability to work and the sequelae of that, pathological indecision, rage and a general, miserable dissatisfaction with life and what it offers. But anxiety remains central all the time. To provide a frame for some of these thoughts, the author considers Dickens's A Tale of Two Cities. The character of Dr Manette provides an example of the symptomatic personality, and the character of Sidney Carton of the much more modern, personality-disordered individual.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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