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Aubry, C. Abella, A. (2005). On: Metaphor and the violent act. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 86(4):1200-1201.

(2005). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 86(4):1200-1201

On: Metaphor and the violent act Related Papers

Candy Aubry and Adela Abella

Dear Sirs,

While sharing the enthusiasm of Campbell and Enckell (2005) for metaphors, we think about them in quite a different way. In an article of which Enckell is aware, Aubry (2001) puts forward the idea that metaphors are often used in the analytic session in order to influence the analyst rather than to inform him, that is, for acting-out purposes. Metaphors make linguistic leaps; they take shortcuts and the listener is drawn in and sometimes even made to join in. Like dreams, they lead from conscious, manifest thoughts to unconscious, latent phantasies. Unlike dreams, very little, if any, ‘dreamwork’ or secondary processing has taken place. Depending on the pathological organisation of the patient or the state of the transferential relationship at a particular time, the unconscious aim may be to enter into some type of collusion with the analyst or to signal a strong desire on the part of the patient. If this remains undiscovered by the analyst, it may well be acted out further in the analytic relationship until the analyst finally ‘gets it’, with verbal or physical violence being the extreme outcome. Two examples from our clinical practice will help to illustrate this.

A young patient had been in analysis for two years. Although intelligent, she was not very imaginative in the sense that her fears regarding her inner world kept her firmly rooted in reality based on routine and a fair amount of rigidity. One day, she surprisingly waxed lyrical about her analytic sessions saying they did her so much good and that she felt as though she was in a safe cocoon. A few days later, the patient announced she would be leaving analysis for very ‘practical’ reasons.

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