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Ginzburg, A. Carvalho, R. (2020). Once and for all Time, Always the Same?. Brit. J. Psychother., 36(3):430-444.

(2020). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 36(3):430-444

Once and for all Time, Always the Same?

Alessandra Ginzburg and Richard Carvalho

This paper gives an account of the early stages in the analysis of a young woman whose parents were unable to make sense of her feelings as a child because they were unable to do so for themselves and bombarded her with theirs. The result was that she remained a stranger to her feeling, which was largely dissociated having never been ‘mentalized’ or converted into alpha elements, so that she mostly experienced it as undifferentiated and inexplicable panic, while to some extent, she was also terrified that emotions, when they did emerge, might alienate those she depended on. This paper explores the logic, using Matte Blanco's conceptual apparatus, of why uncontained emotion should be so prohibitively terrifying in that it, like the unconscious, threatens to dissolve identity and to be experienced therefore as literally annihilating. The technical issue then is how to establish a relationship between the afflicted individual and their body with its terrifying emotion. This the authors address via the thinking of the Italian analyst, Armando Ferrari, for whom the body is mind's primary, original and originating object. The clinical implication of this is that it is sometimes necessary to privilege this relationship, that between the body and its mind, over the transference relationship, insistence on which may invite the patient to ignore it.

[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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