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Cohen, J. (2013). Major Panel: Transformations of Emotional Experience. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 94(6):1167-1168.

(2013). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 94(6):1167-1168

Panel Reports

Major Panel: Transformations of Emotional Experience

Josh Cohen

This IPA Major Panel brought together two discussants from very different psychoanalytic cultures to address the questions raised by Lia Pistiner de Cortiñas' (Asociación Psicoanalítica de Buenos Aires) paper Transformations of emotional experience, each bringing intriguingly different perspectives to the same clinical material.

Pistiner's paper centred on her work with Ana, a young woman who appeared on first encounter to be profoundly dissociated from her own inner life and unable to give even rudimentary expression to her suffering. The history that emerged was a traumatic one. Ana's childhood was indelibly marked by the “disappearance” of her student brother by the brutal 1970s regime in Argentina, and its devastating impact on her family, now reduced to her emotionally “deaf” mother and army officer father.

Pistiner sought to conceptualize this material using the Bionian framework of “transformation”, which she amplified with ideas from Donald Meltzer and Susanne Langer. When Ana first arrived, she suggests, her inner life was a disorganized mass of beta elements variously expressed in confusion, physical exhaustion and a near absence of observable affect, a sense of psychic deadness countertransferentially registered in the analyst's struggle with her frequent lack of interest in the patient. She ascribes this to the desperately inadequate parental functions that have left Ana with a very weak capacity to represent her experience to herself.

[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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