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Carveth, D.L. (2007). Self-Punishment as Guilt Evasion: The Case of Harry Guntrip. Canadian J. Psychoanal., 15(1):56-76.

(2007). Canadian Journal of Psychoanalysis, 15(1):56-76

Self-Punishment as Guilt Evasion: The Case of Harry Guntrip

Donald L. Carveth

A major contributor to the de-moralizing trend in post-Freudian and post-Kleinian psychoanalysis is Harry Guntrip. The guilt evasion that characterizes certain trends within contemporary psychoanalytic thought, and the contemporary culture to which they have adapted, mirrors that of Guntrip himself. Despite his background as a Christian minister and his years of analysis with two of the most creative analysts in the field, Guntrip managed by the end (in my hypothesis) only a paranoid understanding of himself as a victim of a murderous mother, rather than a man crippled by a need to punish himself for his disowned murderous wishes toward a brother who died and toward the mother he hated and blamed. In focusing upon the roots of the “schizoid problem” or the “disordered self” in defective early object-relations, Guntrip obscured entirely the role of guilt and the need for punishment in these conditions and promoted a cure based on reparative re-parenting rather than analysis and resolution of inner conflict.

Harry Guntrip a beaucoup alimenté la tendance de la psychanalyse postfreudienne et post-kleinienne à être « dé-moralisante ». L'évitement de la culpabilité qui caractérise certains courants de la pensée psychanalytique contemporaine et de la culture contemporaine à laquelle ces courants se sont adaptés reflète celui de Guntrip lui-mcme. Malgré son expérience de ministre

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1 The present paper entails an application of the theory developed in “Self-Punishment as Guilt Evasion: Theoretical Issues” (this journal, 14(2], 175-196) in which I distinguish between the unconscious need for punishment driven by the punitive superego fuelled by aggression, and guilt as depressive anxiety or concern fuelled by attachment and love. Because the former frequently defends against the latter, the cure entails learning how to bear guilt such that its evasion through self-punishment is no longer necessary.

- 56 -

du culte chrétien et ses années d'analyse avec deux des analystes les plus créatifs de son temps, Guntrip, à la fin du processus (suivant mon hypothèse), ne se percevait que comme la victime d'une mère meurtrière, plutôt que comme un homme handicapé par le besoin de se punir de ses désirs meurtriers reniés à l'égard d'un frère que la mort avait emporté et d'une mère qu'il haïssait et croyait coupable. En se concentrant sur le « trouble schizoïde » ou le « soi désordonné » en ce qu'il plonge ses racines dans les relations objectales précoces déficientes, Guntrip a complètement occulté le rôle de la culpabilité et le besoin connexe de punition, et a préconisé une cure fondée sur la réparation par une nouvelle expérience de la parentalité plutôt que sur l'analyse et la résolution des conflits internes.

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