Denial Through Fantasy
Posted by Dr. Vollmer on September 2, 2013
Lesli, fifty-two, believes that Alan, fifty-nine wants to marry her. Lesli and Alan are married to different people. Lesli and Alan work together, but not closely. They have never shared a meal and they do not know how many children the other has, or how many siblings, for that matter. Still, Lesli is convinced that Alan wants to leave his wife, which might include a family, for her. Lesli tells me this, with the certainty of measuring someone’s height. I question her confidence, not knowing what Alan is thinking, but knowing that Lesli is unhappy in her marriage, and hence this tale could be about a defense http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defence_mechanisms that helps Lesli cope with her troubled relationship. As she wishes she were married to Alan, and not to her husband, Zeke, she self-soothes, but at the same time, she is not aware that Alan does not share her fantasy, leading to a collision course of expectations. My job is to help Lesli understand why this fantasy occurs to her, and to then explore the possible meanings behind it. The first step is to help Lesli entertain the notion that her certainty, could, in fact, be a wish, and in this wish is a window into her unconscious. The stronger Lesli holds on to her certainty, the more Lesli is thickening her access to her emotional interior. Examining her hold on to, what she believes is “truth,” is the beginning of our psychotherapeutic experience.