Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
Tip: To search for a specific phrase…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

Did you write an article’s title and the article did not appear in the search results? Or do you want to find a specific phrase within the article? Go to the Search section and write the title or phrase surrounded by quotations marks in the “Search for Words or Phrases in Context” area.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Hamburg, P. (1987). Symptoms, Chaos and the Architecture of Psychotherapy. Mod. Psychoanal., 12(2):187-193.

(1987). Modern Psychoanalysis, 12(2):187-193

Symptoms, Chaos and the Architecture of Psychotherapy

Paul Hamburg, M.D.

I would like to explore certain parallel architectual metaphors in patients' symptom-structures and in psychotherapy, with the view to clarify some of the difficulties in maintaining a therapeutic space with some disturbed patients. Masud Khan (1978), Andre Green (1978), and Serge Viderman (1979) have all written about the concept of therapeutic space as the embodiment of illusion in the psychotherapeutic situation. The boundaries, constituents and limitations of therapeutic space as a potential environment for exploration and growth remain to be mapped. Beginning from a consideration of the symptom as a structural unit that mitigates chaos in the patient's inner world, I would like to examine the shape of the common space occupied by patient and therapist and the strains placed on that space by patients whose symptoms include severe limitations in their tolerance of illusion and play.

Psychiatric Disorder and Chaos

To name a set of psychiatric symptoms a “disorder” obscures even as it clarifies, by implying that symptoms replace order with chaos. The possibility of creating a taxonomic classification of disorders itself hints that something besides disorder is at stake in understanding symptoms. Be they obsessions, rituals, inhibitions or repetitions, psychiatric symptoms help organize a world as it threatens to become chaotic, even as they become names for that chaos.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

Copyright © 2020, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.