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Fabricius, J. (1996). Panel Report: Psychic Reality And Solitude: Chaired by HARVEY RICH, Washington, DC. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 77:367-371.

(1996). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 77:367-371

Panel Report: Psychic Reality And Solitude: Chaired by HARVEY RICH, Washington, DC

Julia Fabricius

The Chairman introduced the panel, saying that while some people see this topic as an organising one for psychoanalysis, others feel that solitude can only ever be illusory since we are always accompanied by our introjects.

The first panellist, André Alsteens, opened with the formulation that the integration of one's psychic reality gradually defines a person in terms of his own solitude. He gave brief details of the case of a 30-year-old woman who was in analysis for four years. The patient, whose father had died in a riding accident when she was 14, had sexual difficulties, fantasies of filth and a feeling of not knowing where she was in her life. The arduous adolescent task of recognising herself within her own limitations had been side-stepped by an illusion of omnipotent, phallic, self-sufficiency. Alsteens saw the analysis, which was dominated by grief for the patient's father, as an attempt to resume a developmental process.

The patient experienced intense transference feelings and at times the boundary between fantasy and reality was unclear. Alsteens suggested that it was the tension of being on the threshold of action but with the possibility of verbalisation that enabled her to experience a growing sense of inner space. However, there was also a period of deep stagnation during which Alsteens suggested working face to face. He felt that this was advantageous, giving the patient a surprising experience that both she and her analyst existed.

Alsteens centred his presentation on the termination, giving a number of quotations of the patient's words, although these were presented in isolation rather than in the context of the process within which they occurred.

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