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Dunn, P. (2005). Israel Psychoanalytic Journal. Psychoanal Q., 74(3):921-933.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Israel Psychoanalytic Journal

(2005). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 74(3):921-933


Israel Psychoanalytic Journal

Peter Dunn, M.D.

Volume I, 1-4 2003

The year 2003 marked the first volume of Israel's first international psychoanalytic journal. Its articles are published in English, to encourage wide dissemination, and there are abstracts in six languages—including, optimistically, Arabic. The journal's Editor-inChief is Dr. Moshe Halevi Spero, a psychoanalytic scholar who has written widely about the intersection of psychoanalysis and Judaism. The Editorial Board has broad international representation, consisting of thirteen Israeli members and sixty-five from outside Israel. The journal's content is eclectic, utilizing contributors and editors from each of the main psychoanalytic schools, including authors such as McDougall, Stolorow, and Meissner. There is also a first English translation of Green's influential paper, “The Double Limit.”

None of the issues of Volume I of the Israel Psychoanalytic Journal were formally designated as topical, but the subtextual theme of each is the plasticity of the human response to trauma—whether that trauma occurred during the Holocaust, the Intifada, a recent explosion in a café, or the earliest stages of the patient's separation-individuation. Indeed, the effects of Israeli history come through so starkly that there is no question that Israeli psychoanalysis is as distinct a variant as is, for instance, French psychoanalysis.

This abstracter's opinion is that the Israel Psychoanalytic Journal particularly merits international support on the basis of the

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high quality of its papers and editing, as well as the contents of papers on trauma by Israeli contributors that are not duplicated in other psychoanalytic publications. The field would be poorer indeed in the absence of this journal, since the wider psychoanalytic world would lose a distinctive voice.

I, 1, 2003

Inaugural Communication: On Writing in the Land of the Book. Moshe Halevi Spero, pp. 7-31.

The Editor-in-Chief of the Israel Psychoanalytic Journal reflects on the logic of founding a new journal and concludes that its function is primarily psychological. The difficult act of psychoanalytic writing is viewed as an interaction between writer and editor. Just as Winnicott wrote that there is no such thing as a baby without a mother, Spero reasons that there is no such thing as a writer without an editor.

Viewed in this context, the journal is the Israeli analyst-writer's facilitating environment. While it is true that one can be published elsewhere (just as one can be raised by someone else's mother), there is something potentially enriching about being raised within one's own culture by someone who speaks (and embodies) one's mother tongue.

The author goes on to explicate elements of Bion's and Lacan's theories of thought and how they apply to his understanding of how an editor serves as a container for tensions within the author as thoughts are transmuted into scientific writing. He draws a comparison between the notion of Moses's two tablets (one written directly by God, without words, and one transcribed by Moses) and the Lacanian notion of a double inscription.

Love of Psychoanalysis: A Personal Note. Michael Shoshani, pp. 33-43.

The Executive Editor writes a personal essay, recounting how he came to develop a broad and inclusive view of psychoanalysis. While psychoanalysis began with Freud as a subspecialty of psychiatry rooted in the natural sciences, the work of Fromm, May, Winnicott,

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Bion, Ricoeur, Lacan, and Kohut has influenced the author to regard psychoanalysis as a broader discipline akin to art and the humanities. He draws an analogy to the body of thought that can be used either for the narrower purpose of art therapy or for the broader purpose of comprehending aesthetics. In such a dialectical view, psychoanalysis has the power to be used in various ways and to synthesize various disciplines.

Shoshani expresses his hope that the Israel Psychoanalytic Journal will incorporate contributions from diverse disciplines. Publication of articles by Israeli analysts in English is desirable, as it may discourage the unfortunate tendency of some Israelis to assume a stance of self-sufficiency and to turn away from discourse with the wider world.

The Double Limit. André Green, pp. 45-70.

The author takes up the theory of thought that was begun by Freud and elaborated along mathematical lines by Bion, both of whom were inspired primarily by the study of psychosis. In more recent years, this theory has garnered renewed interest in relation to the analysis of borderline patients.

Four elements are essential to the theory: (1) The double limit is established in development, first as the division between internal and external (self and object), and then as the boundary between conscious and unconscious; (2) Representation—that is, of intra- and intersubjective processes; (3) Binding, as it applies to the nature of instinctual energies and the contents that convey them; and (4) Abstractions, which assume a progressive modification of drive and affect, so that thought has the double task of moving beyond the drive from which it derives, while also retaining some contact with its source of affective vitality.

Notes on Some Transference Effects of the Holocaust: Unmentalized Experience and Coincidence of Vulnerability in the Therapeutic Couple. Judith I. Mitrani, pp. 71-88.

A young woman named Mirium, arrested by police for stalking, turns out in analysis to be enacting scenes from the Holocaust

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past of her parents. As the analyst became able to envision the horrors of the parents' past as recounted by relatives, so did the patient. With the development of her capacity to think, there was an abatement of her need to act.

This positive transference-countertransference coupling is contrasted by the author to several treatment misalliances, in which both patient and analyst were children of Holocaust survivors, and the coincidence of vulnerability led the analyst to turn a deaf ear to the patient's transference complaints. For the patients, this repeated experiences with the parent who was too filled with his or her own unbearable and undigested suffering to bear hearing of the baby's suffering in relation to the parent's own failings. The result was a deadening of the treatment.

The Therapeutic Process and the Analyst's Self-Disclosure: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Robert D. Stolorow, pp. 89-101.

The author approaches the topic of self-disclosure within the context of his intersubjective theory of transference. Transference represents a person's unconscious organizing activity, and has two dimensions: the repetitive dimension, which organizes the object's actions along genetic lines, and the developmental dimension, which organizes the object's actions according to longed-for, developmentally facilitative lines. Good interpretations (and other good interventions) strengthen the developmental dimension of the transference, and bad interpretations (and other bad interventions) strengthen the repetitive dimensions.

An example of a self-disclosure that heightens the patient's sense of being understood by the analyst and of understanding herself is contrasted to one in which the analyst's self-disclosure leads the patient to reexperience an early sense of empathic failure. The author thoughtfully reflects on the reasons he made the second intervention and why it failed.

Empathy as an Aspect of the Therapeutic Alliance. William W. Meissner, pp. 103-146.

The author addresses the essential nature of the analyst's empathy toward the patient in the establishment of a therapeutic alliance,

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and the equal importance of the patient's empathy for the analyst. The analyst's empathy will fall flat if the patient is unable to see the analyst as well intentioned and helpful. The author differentiates empathy in the therapeutic alliance from empathy within the transference and the real relationship, and maintains that it is mutual empathy within the therapeutic alliance that is crucially necessary for interpretation to be mutative. The author disputes the current wide usage of the term intrasubjective, suggesting that interpersonal would most often suffice.

Trauma and Environmental Disaster. Joyce McDougall, pp. 147-162.

Four months of process notes are presented to demonstrate the efficacy of psychoanalytic treatment in the face of environmental trauma. The patient was a man in his late forties who became suicidal after nearly dying in an avalanche. The relief of his acute depression during the course of weekly sessions was accompanied by the surfacing of long-term obsessional and phobic symptoms. Direct, early interpretation of primitive oedipal and anal fantasy provided dramatic partial relief and the desire for continued treatment.

I, 2, 2003

Containing the Container: Some Experiential Aspects of Narcissism and the Problem of “Primary Undifferentiation”. Charles Levin, pp. 167-202.

This paper argues against the view that development proceeds from an original state of objectlessness to symbiosis and progressive differentiation with possible states of arrest along the way. According to Levin, the primitive symbiotic and quasi-symbiotic transferences of narcissistic and borderline patients reflect early fantasies, rather than actual infantile states.

Transference fantasies of merger allow the patient to feel that his or her life and the analyst's life are intertwined. Fantasies of omnipotence are aimed at getting under the analyst's skin so that

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the analyst responds in a way that proves the patient's existence in the analyst's internal world. The author concludes that the basic narcissistic motive is to actualize the fantasy that “I have inside me the one who has me safely inside him or her.” Put differently, “I contain the container.” The difference between functional and pathological narcissism is that, in the former, this fantasy is deeply rooted in the symbolic fabric of the psyche, while in the latter it is not grounded in this way and must be enacted in relationships.

Autistic Encapsulation for Preservation in Holocaust Survivors and the Problem of Symbolization. David Rosenfeld, pp. 203-224.

Autistic children avoid feelings of helplessness and terror by withdrawing into a shell, a process that Tolpin has termed autistic encapsulation. Rosengeld applies this concept to the maneuvers of Holocaust survivors who avoid mentalization of overwhelmingly traumatic experiences of danger and loss by putting their memories into psychic capsules in order to safeguard those positive identifications that are central to their sense of self. While such efforts forestall the resolution of mourning and full psychic integration, they may preserve vital identificatory links with family members' memories.

A case is presented in which the encapsulated early experiences of a middle-aged Holocaust survivor gradually return in analysis. The patient regains some familiarity with German (her mother tongue) and is able to mourn her parents and grandparents.

The Sense of Transience in Transferential and Transitional Phenomena. Sotiris Manolopoulos, pp. 225-245.

Pathologies in the sense of time, apart from déjà vu, have received little psychoanalytic attention. This paper address the sense of transience, exploring its appearance in early development and its various disturbances. Psychopathologies in the sense of transience include the inability to imagine an affectively alive past or future, the relative failure to appreciate the preciousness of objects

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in the present, and the failure to mourn. Transference interpretations, by their very nature, further the development of the sense of transience, since they confront the patient with the difference between the analyst in the here and now and the analyst as an imagined primary object from the past.

Geheimnistrager—The Secret Bearers: From Silence to Testimony, from the Real to Phantasm. Ruth Golan, pp. 247-273.

The author calls attention to stereotyping that has entered many accounts of Holocaust tragedies. She suggests that there is an innate limitation to linear narrative, and speculates that the suicide of Primo Levi bespeaks the affective unsatisfactoriness of such forms of testifying. Basing her argument on the work of Lacan regarding reality and fantasy, she reasons that there is a need to adopt more evocative eyewitnessing, or the testimony of the gaze. An example is given of such a form of eyewitnessing.

The author provides a one-paragraph account of a story, both uncanny and horrifying, that was told to her by a relative who spent a night guarding the Nazi concentration camp commander who had imprisoned him.

Psychoanalytic Education Revisited. Isidoro Berenstein, pp. 275-300.

The author critiques psychoanalytic education, arguing that it limits creativity in psychoanalytic candidates, just as primary school education stifles nonconformity in children by its design. Freud saw the main effects of education, apart from the transmission of technical information, to be the reinforcement of repression and the enforcement of the child's adoption of societal norms as an aspect of the superego.

By making personal analysis part of the tripartite model of analytic training, Max Eitington (the founder of psychoanalysis in Israel) ensured that the candidate was deprived of the ability of using the analysis to free him- or herself from neurotic inhibitions that dictated blind obedience to group values. The author argues

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that this tripartite model of training has limited creativity and congealed outmoded ways of thinking. An analogy is drawn to the educational methods of the city-state of Sparta in ancient Greece.

I, 3, 2003

Reflections on the Foundations and Development of Thinking. Anna Potamianou, pp. 311-330.

This paper interprets the Greek myth of Theseus and Ariadne as symbolic of the process whereby the child attains the capacity for thought. According to the myth, Ariadne, daughter of the king of Crete, falls in love with Theseus and offers to help him find his way out of the labyrinth by giving him a coil of thread. Theseus escapes and slays the minotaur, the fearsome half-man, half-bull. In the author's reading, the dark and formless labyrinth represents the original state of the child's drives, the minotaur the original mindlessness of the infant, and Ariadne the early mother whose wise ministrations (the thread) artfully assist Theseus (the developing, beloved child) in emerging from the darkness of prethought/pre-speech via the erotic tie to the mother. Theseus, the human child, thus attains the capacity for thought and reasoned action.

A selection is presented from the analysis of Mrs. H, a 47year-old patient who sought treatment for panic attacks, deep confusion, loneliness, and depression, in order to show the parallel between the mythic process portrayed by Theseus and Ariadne and the psychoanalytic process that occurred between Mrs. H and the author.

Implicit Memory and Unrepressed Unconscious: Their Role in Creativity and Transference. Mauro Mancia, pp. 331-349.

The author proposes that what Freud termed the unrepressed unconscious derives from the encounter that takes place between the fetus or neonate—with all its innate preconceptions—and the earliest relational realities of prenatal and early postnatal life. The unrepressed unconscious may account for the musical element of

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the transference—the patient's tone, timbre, and volume of voice, as well as rhythm, prosody, and syntax. Psychoanalysis may allow the patient to recover early fantasies and to work through unremembered infantile traumas. Thus, the author speculates that poetic, musical, scientific, and visually artistic creativity can be understood as the capacity to re-create the unrepressed unconscious fantasies and defenses of early life, and to evoke reciprocal fantasies and affects in others.

Our Science and Our Scientific Lives. Waldemar Zusman, pp. 351-377.

The author describes a set of difficulties common to all psychoanalytic institutes, which he calls the “Eitington Syndrome.” Administrative structures and curriculum are rigidified, and theoretical change is doggedly resisted. Candidates and members alike perceive a continual risk of committing heresy, so they avoid creative efforts.

The author evokes the name of Max Eitington because Eitington was the first to advocate the tripartite system of psychoanalytic education, and also because Eitington's relationship to Freud has been described as submissive and idealizing. The resolution of the Eitington Syndrome in psychoanalytic institutes is a precondition for the evolution of the science of psychoanalysis, according to Zusman.

Some Remarks about Analytic Abstinence and Neutrality. Siegfried Zepf and Sebastian Hartmann, pp. 379-402.

The authors review the utility of the concepts of neutrality and abstinence, and ultimately find them lynchpins for defining proper psychoanalytic technique. Neutrality is defined as the analyst's attitude of non-interference in regard to the patient's wishes, aims, values, and attitudes. Abstinence refers to the analyst's commitment to not act out the countertransference. The analyst practices abstinence in order to put his or her personal self to use as an instrument to gain knowledge about the patient.

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All schools of psychoanalysis implicitly endorse abstinence and neutrality insofar as they offer guidance to analysts in training about which behaviors the school believes to be, in some sense, utopian. Negation of the rules of behavior signals to the analyst that his or her countertransference may be undergoing neurotic distortion. This observation suggests that there is common-ground agreement on the concepts of neutrality and abstinence, despite recent challenges offered by Renik and other intersubjectivists.

Autistic Enclaves and Somatization. Bianca Lechevalier-Haim, pp. 403-434.

This paper presents the analysis of a young man named Thomas who develops Crohn's disease in the course of his analysis, providing the analyst with a rare opportunity to observe the illness in statu nascendi. The author utilized the work of Frances Tustin, whose theories about autistic enclaves and somatization in very disturbed young children have been applied by others to the psychopathology of Holocaust survivors and their children. The author traces the development of Thomas's disease in part to the impact of his father's traumatic Holocaust past. In Thomas's treatment, thawing out autistic enclaves and somatizations involved the lifting of repression and the emergence of preconceptual elements that were never successfully symbolized, and that had resulted in a particularly aggressivized oedipal situation. The countertransference played a significant part in enabling these aspects to be understood by the analyst, and eventually to be represented mentally and affectively worked through by the patient.

Mysticism and Epicureanism in Psychoanalysis: Michael Eigen and Adam Phillips. Carlo Strenger, pp. 435-461.

This paper pursues Ellenberger's proposition that Freud's most important contribution was to revive the tradition of the Greco-Roman philosophical schools, whose centerpieces were “mental training.” Students were inculcated in systems that promoted particular ways of life, based on the differing ideals of each school.

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The author suggests that Freud's espoused views were much like those of the Stoic's in their emphasis of instinctual renunciation and dignity. In contrast, contemporary analysts embody more of the ideals of alternative ancient schools. For example, Michael Eigen idealizes the capacity for extreme emotions, such as agony and ecstasy—ideas in line with those of Neo-Platonists. Adam Phillips emphasizes so-called interesting hedonism—a notion central to Epicureanism.

I, 4, 2003

“Through the Unknown Remembered Gate”: The Unconscious Reconsidered. James Grotstein, pp. 467-505.

This essay reconsiders Freud's concept of the unrepressed unconscious. The author sees the unrepressed unconscious as wisps of mentality waiting to come into being—hard-wired knowledge that exists in the infant prior to birth, forming the essential core of the unconscious upon which the repressed sits. The author links the concept of an unrepressed unconscious to other ideas central to Western thought, such as Plato's ideal forms, Kant's a priori noumi, and the Judeo-Christian image of the sublime. In the author's model of the mind, the unconscious is personified—a second self, entirely distinct from the Freudian id. The goal of psychoanalysis is for the patient to become acquainted with his or her unconscious, just as one becomes acquainted with another person.

Working-Through, Substitutive Formations, and Resistance. Siegfried Zepf and Sebastian Hartmann, pp. 507-535.

This paper argues that Freud's concept of substitutive formations (1915) is critically useful in understanding working through. Substitutive formations (also translated as compromise formations), as Freud first conceptualized them, are complexes of partially expressed, repressed impulses and the defenses that keep them at bay. Working through takes time and work because the analyst is working against the patient's resistance. The resistance is a manifestation

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of the defense motivated by the threat of the unpleasure evoked at the potential emergence of the repressed impulse. The patient first attempts to hold onto his or her substitutive formations, rather than finding better solutions for neurotic conflicts. In contemporary terms, working through refers to the process whereby the patient comes to relinquish a pathological compromise formation for a more adaptive one in the face of repeated interpretation.

Creative and Clinical Transformations of Trauma: Private Pain in the Public Domain. Danielle Knafo, pp. 537-563.

The creation of art when one is facing death involves the adaptive aesthetic response to human emergency. Three aesthetic responses in the face of extreme trauma are considered in this paper. One is Michal Heiman's; she was a young Israeli woman who used video art to record her own terrified face as she drove her car past sites of suicide bombers. Another response described is Charlotte Salmmon's; this woman experienced the suicides of her mother, aunt, and grandmother, and proceeded to draw 1,325 pictures of her family before she was taken to Auschwitz and killed at age twenty-three.

The author explores how creative expression provides meaning, connection, and continuity in times of social turmoil and rupture. The case of K, a photographer whose sadistic father was blinded by the Nazis, is presented as an instance in which the transference took the form of a sadomasochistic artistic performance, satisfying aesthetic functions and allaying the patient's reaction to trauma.

Image Formation of a “Frontal Spine” in Work with Autistic Children. Tami Pollak, pp. 565-603.

The author gives a vivid, detailed description of the successful psychoanalytic treatment of a severely autistic child who progressed over a number of years from a nonverbal and nonsocialized state to become verbal and well related, despite all prognostic

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indicators. The author adopted a Bionian framework in which she regarded herself as the boy's container, providing for him the mental structures she intuited that he lacked. Based on countertransference constructions rather than on any concrete anatomical references, she imagined the boy to be missing a “frontal spine,” and herself as replacing it section by section. The paper details her conception of the function of each missing part of the spine and her therapeutic efforts at repair.

A Preoedipal Representation of the Analytic Breast as Illuminated by a Patient's Use of Rabbinic Legend. Moshe Halevi Spero, pp. 605-641.

The analysis of Tikvah, a borderline woman with hysterical features, is presented to support the author's contention that we may conceptualize two levels of breast function. In contrast to patients for whom the breast's meaning tends towards the symbolic range of interpretation, and whose conflicts are at an oedipal level, patients such as Tikvah use concrete metonymic representations and struggle with pregenital needs. The analyst's careful attention to the patient's use of metonym as opposed to metaphor provides a valuable guide to detecting the patient's level of developmental arrest or regression.

For example, Tikvah developed the transference fantasy that the analyst was akin to the rabbi of the Talmudic legend, in which “the man's breasts opened forth like a woman's breasts and he thus suckled his child.” While aware that she was offering a conceptual idea rich with emotional meaning, rather than presenting a concrete fact about the analyst's having breasts, the patient clung to the legend to emphasize her literal need for maternal care in analytic treatment. Thus, she was still rooted in metonymic representation, not yet on the road to a more fully symbolic metaphoric representation of the breast.

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Article Citation

Dunn, P. (2005). Israel Psychoanalytic Journal. Psychoanal. Q., 74(3):921-933

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