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Hoit, M. (1999). Response to Kenneth Newman's “The Usable Analyst”. Ann. Psychoanal., 26:195-200.

(1999). Annual of Psychoanalysis, 26:195-200

Response to Kenneth Newman's “The Usable Analyst”

Michael Hoit, M.D.

Kenneth Newman has provided a view into his experiments in areas of deep clinical regression where, he believes, the analysand and the analyst, together, create an ad hoc space in which to enact early developmental processes. Specifically, Newman is proposing a radical solution for some psychoanalyses in which a particularly stubborn resistance appeared to be the result of a fixed character defense. He thinks that in cases where fragments of traumatic experience have been split off from the developmental line, the analysand will deprived of the necessary energy for growth. It is essential, then, to gain access to these experiences and to resolve the traumatic process to rejoin these fragments of development into the core of the self within a cohesive psychoanalytic interaction. The resistance that the analysis encounters in these cases is based on the unintegrated fragments of traumatic experience. The analysand clings to the traumatizing object tenaciously and resists every attempt at weaning. Newman supposes that the analysand when a child, faces overwhelming affects without adequate internal structure. Along with Winnicott, Kohut, and others, Newman believes that the parents' functions have to be included in any description of that infantile structure and its failures. His position is that the analysand cannot give up the object because of the overwhelming affect that would have to be faced in dealing with the traumatic experience and in synthesizing the internal object. The resistances cannot be resolved by interpretation of resistance because interpretation cannot be used if it comes from a distrusted analyst. This means the analyst is not conformable to a usable object (Newman, 1996). The traumata are, however, engageable through enactments; they have not been symbolically elaborated (there is no fantasy); they have not ever been put into words. Bollas (1987) calls this phenomenon, “The Unthought Known.”

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