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Cassorla, R. (2014). The Analyst at Work: Discussion of the Case of Ellen. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 95(1):93-102.

(2014). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 95(1):93-102

The Analyst at Work: Discussion of the Case of Ellen

Roosevelt Cassorla

This very interesting clinical material prepared by our colleague Georg Bruns stirred up some reflections in me that I hope will be as dreams (in the sense described by Bion, 1962). That is, I hope that these dreams can serve as a series of images and ideas where I try to symbolize my emotional experiences in words. The aspects that most caught my attention in this material were the difficulties that all analysts face, namely happenings related to the complex narcissistic configurations that protect the patient and the analytic pair from traumatic contact with triangular reality.

I would like to start off with the first session, recounted by Bruns as a model for the entire analytic process. Ellen's sequence of actions before going into the analyst's office, the way she talked about it in the session, and the analyst's feelings and interventions show the styles of both Ellen and the analyst, as well as the work of the analytic pair. I suggest we make this style an invariant that can continue as a background during the entire analytic process. We might remember Buffon's statement to the effect that: ‘The style is the man himself.’

Let us imagine the first scene as if it were a performance in mimicry or a silent movie. Ellen arrives at Georg's office. Her hair gives her an air of youth as she stands in the hall by the door of his office. She looks at her watch and hesitates. She seems not to know whether she should stay in the hall or ring the doorbell. She decides to stay in the hall, but remains very quiet, trying hard not to make any noise at all.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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