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Sekoff, J. (2009). The Touch beyond Hate: Response to Danielle Quinodoz's “Aggression Turned against the Self Also Attacks Others”. Fort Da, 15(1):24-34.

(2009). Fort Da, 15(1):24-34

The Touch beyond Hate: Response to Danielle Quinodoz's “Aggression Turned against the Self Also Attacks Others”

Jed Sekoff, Ph.D.

Matthias Tschabold, a contemporary Swiss poet, opens his poem, “The Hour of the Tiger” (1999), with the following lines:

If my heart is right,

I know where my dreams go.

Danielle Quinodoz has taken us to an inner landscape, where hearts are turned back against themselves and dreams are lost in a vertiginous cascade of hurt, hatred, and confusion. Elise is one of those whose hearts cannot locate their dreams. This is a landscape that Mme. Quinodoz has explored at depth, and with heart and imagination. From her work on vertigo — a condition more intimately related to our emotional lives than we previously recognized — to her exploration of “words that touch,” she has tried to help us think, speak, and dream with a touch that, at one and the same time, is more precise and more textured, more affectively resonant, than we have often dared.

I want to try and highlight just a few of the themes that Mme. Quinodoz helps locate as components of our never-ending struggle to seek, evade, and find once again a measure of psychical equilibrium. Prominent among these themes is the clinical challenge of meeting the needs of those patients she terms “heterogeneous” — an idea I will return to — but who might be depicted as those for whom experience cannot find full root, release, or resonance in the verbal symbolic realm.

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