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Director, L. (2016). The Analyst as Catalyst: Cultivating Mind in the Shadow of Neglect. Psychoanal. Dial., 26(6):685-697.

(2016). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 26(6):685-697

The Analyst as Catalyst: Cultivating Mind in the Shadow of Neglect

Lisa Director, Ph.D.

I describe an effort to cultivate mind and deepen relatedness in patients who exhibit rudimentary thought and constricted forms of object contact, due to the effects of certain neglect or serious disturbance. Some of these patients require the analyst to serve as a catalyst, who takes proactive steps to summon a psychic realm to the patient’s experience and to forge components of the dyadic bonds that promote such function. The insights of the object relations tradition into foreclosed development are noted. I argue that such insights can be optimally applied with the benefit of the relational school’s emphasis on forms of dyadic engagement and use of the analyst’s subjectivity. In some cases of neglect, and others in which serious developmental challenge is the result of disturbance, priority is placed on the patient’s growth. Similarly, in my case illustration, my goal in using my subjectivity, as a catalyst, is for my patient to take his own emerging mind and psychic self with interest.

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