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Greenberg, J. (2002). Discussion of Dr Bolognini's Case Presentation. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 83(4):762-766.
(2002). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 83(4):762-766
Discussion of Dr Bolognini's Case Presentation
The opening moments of Dr Bolognini's first session capture, for me, something crucial about what it feels like to do the work of analysis, and also what happens when the treatment is going well. There are two dimensions to this, both involving benign splits, one in the analysand, the other in the analyst.
First, the analysand. Dr Bolognini notes that he could consider ‘the adventure’ of the patient because—as represented in the dream—she is able to trust him to care for the 11-month-old baby while setting off to explore ‘other, more disconcerting portions of the transference’. This split, well represented in the dream, is promising. Alba has reached a stage in her analysis where she can at least entertain the possibility that she is safe enough to take risks, although it is likely that this is still quite conflictual for her.
As subsequent developments show, a crucial aspect of the risk that Alba needs to take is the risk of encountering Dr Bolognini himself, not simply as a dependable caretaker, but as the captain of a mythical, rather ominous enterprise. And, moreover, the caretaking Dr Bolognini must be entrusted not only with Alba's baby/self but also with his own. That is, she must believe that he will be able to contain his own negative feelings for Alba, feelings that we meet in Dr Bolognini's report almost before we meet Alba herself.
This gets me to the split in the analyst, which I believe is a ubiquitous feature of our work, but one that is rarely addressed in our literature. Dr Bolognini openly and immediately acknowledges it, telling us that ‘I become aware of a kind of functional scission within me …’ As I conceptualise it, the split is between a pull to analyse Alba—to get to work on the dream as he typically does—and a pull to react more personally, giving in to his emotional reactions to her way of reporting it.
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