OPEN TO ALL MEMBERS OF THE COMMUNITY
September 25, 2001
Presenter: By Barbara Fajardo, Ph.D.
The Therapeutic Alliance: Coupled Oscillators in Biological Synchrony
This paper is an application of some principles of nonlinear dynamics systems theory to expand our understanding of the therapeutic alliance in self psychology. The therapeutic alliance is understood as an aspect of a selfobject, a shared created experience in the process of a partnership between analyst and patient. Biologists and other scientists have used dynamic systems theory to described shared behavior patterns that organize the lives of individuals forming a system, sometimes identifying the agents and parameters of change in the process of the system.
Applying the principles of spontaneous organization in biological process to the embodied behavior and experience of the analytic dyad, patients and their analysts work together in an alliance that can be organized in several different ways. A synchronous alliance is characterized by symmetrical experiences and behaviors of the dyadic partners, when there is a feeling of being "in step," as in empathic attunement. An antisynchronous alliance is when the partners are together but at odds, similar to music when a syncopated counterpoint plays parallel to the main melodic line. In the analytic dyad, this is exemplified by repetitious patterned behavior when the analyst does one thing and the patient does another, still responding to one another, but experiencing different things in tandem. A third type of dyadic organization is incoherence, when the system is unable to achieve synchrony or antisynchrony. This can be an impasse, or it might be a phase transition, which is followed by a spontaneous reorganization into new patterns related to growth and development in the patient's self. Clinical vignettes are described to illustrate each type of alliance.
October 23, 2001
Presenter: Harold P. Blum, M.D.
The Dream in the Second Psychoanalytic Century
During this past century of psychoanalysis and into the new millennium, there have been continuing challenges to psychoanalytic dream theory. This paper reconsiders the basic characteristics of most dreams and current controversies concerning the motives and meanings of dreams. The recalled manifest dream, loosely analogous to the daydream, is a ubiquitous experience, which has had historical, theoretical, and clinical importance.
The clinical use of dreams has changed with the evolution of technique and prevailing theoretical interests. Dreams are no longer regarded as the via regia of analytic work, and there is no royal road to interpretation without resistance. Dreams represent compromise formations, including a core of hallucinatory wish fulfillment, which may provide compelling vivid evidence and conviction. Dreams illuminate transference and countertransference, self and object representation, current interpersonal elements, the analytic relationship and analytic process, ego state, character, mood, and defense.
Dream psychology is differentiated from the neurophysiology of the dream and from dreaming sleep. The psychoanalytic theory of dreams should be consistent and compatible with neuroscience. The expectation of the convergence of psychoanalysis and neuroscience looms ahead, an old dream in a postmodern context.
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