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Psychoanalysis On and Off the Couch

Jan 23, 2022

"The acknowledgment of guilt it’s a prerequisite for reparation. There is no reparation without the acknowledgment of guilt and guilt arises when love and hatred come together within the same person. There is no need to feel guilt as long as we idealize a good object - there is no need to feel guilt as long as we have the bad object. When we discover that it is the same object, that our love feelings and our hatred are directed towards the same object, then guilt arises. I think of guilt more as a molecule, not as an atom."  


Episode Description: We begin by clarifying the meaning of trauma from its commonplace references all the way to the trauma of parental figures maintaining a malignant view of their child. We discuss the impact of early trauma on development with particular attention to the limitations on the capacity for nuanced affect and symbolization. Heinz describes in detail how this level of concreteness lives in the analytic situation and is shared in the counter-transference. The analyst's ability to imperfectly tolerate the projection of badness into them is demonstrated in his clinical vignette. The patient describes herself, There is something in me which is part of me and not part of me which thinks that I only have a right to live if I feel bad. We learn how that addictive attachment to dependable badness sustains her until she needs it less over the course of her analysis. The deepening capacity to tolerate guilt and for whole object gratitude marks the analysand’s healing. 


Our Guest: Heinz Weiss, M.D., is the Head of the Department of Psychosomatic Medicine at the Robert Bosch Hospital in Stuttgart. He is also the head of the Medical Division and member of the directorate of the Sigmund-Freud Institute, Frankfurt/Main, and Chair of the Education Section of the International Journal of Psychoanalysis. 


Linked Episodes: 


Recommended Readings: 

Money-Kyrle, R. (1956), Normal Countertransference and Some of Its Deviations. Int. J. Psychoanalysis 37: 360-366. 


Rey, H. (1994), Universals of Psychoanalysis in the Treatment of Psychotic and Borderline States. London: Free Associations Books. 


Steiner, J. (1993), Psychic Retreats. Pathological Organizations in Psychotic, Neurotic and Borderline Patients. London, New York: Routledge. 


Steiner, J. (2020), Illusion, Disillusion and Irony in Psychoanalysis. London, New York. 


Weiss, H. (2009), Das Labyrinth der Borderline-Kommunikation [The Labyrinth of Borderline-Communication]. Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta. 


Weiss, H. (2020), A Brief History of the Super-Ego with an Introduction to Three Papers: Int. J. Psychoanal. 4 (2020), 724-734. 


Weiss, H. (2020), A River with Several Different Tributary Streams: Reflections on the Repetition Compulsion. Int. J. Psychoanal. 101, 6: 1172-1187. 


Weiss, H.(2021), The Conceptualization of Trauma in Psychoanalysis: An Introduction. Int. J. Psychoanal. 102, 4: 755-764.