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Fajardo, B. (1991). Analyzability and Resilience in Development. Ann. Psychoanal., 19:107-126.

(1991). Annual of Psychoanalysis, 19:107-126

II Psychoanalysis and Development

Analyzability and Resilience in Development

Barbara Fajardo

As analysts and therapists nearly all of us have treated patients who have surprised or puzzled us in their response to treatment, some who in spite of favorable history and disposition have not made use of the treatment to change or improve and others who have unexpectedly done very well. These occasions cause us to search for explanations. Often, we conclude that there were dynamic factors that we did not recognize or that there was something constitutional in the patient that was responsible. Possibilities for overlooked dynamic factors are many, particularly as one becomes willing to entertain the many different perspectives and theories within psychoanalysis. In contrast, constitutional factors are usually conceptually vague and elusive or narrowly focused on organic dysfunction; furthermore, constitutional explanations may be invoked out of ignorance or avoidance of the psychodynamics. For these reasons, we may feel that explanations based on psychodynamics. For these reasons, we may feel that explanations based on psychodynamic factors are superior.

Further discrediting constitutional explanations is the fact that there have been a limited number of ways to think about constitution in psychoanalysis, and these seem static and alien in light of the contemporary emphasis on psychoanalysis as process. Among psychoanalytic ideas about constitution is, first, Sigmund Freud's (1916) original notion of the individual variability of drive strength, as in the concept of “complimentary series,” (p. 347). A second idea, also from Freud (“Totem and Taboo” and “Civilization and Its Discontents), is that constitution determines certain contents of the unconscious that are universal but have some individual variations; this view was expanded by Jung (in his concept of the collective unconscious) and later by Melanie Klein. (See Hayman's, 1989, discussion of Klein's view of phantasy.)

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