Sick One: Healthy One, No Way!
Posted by Dr. Vollmer on October 21, 2013
Heinrich Racker says “the first distortion of truth in ‘the myth of the analytic situation’ is that analysis is an interaction between a sick person and a healthy one. The truth is that it is an interaction between two personalities, in both of which the ego is under pressure.”
This concept of “egos in the ring” as I like to say, is often resisted, as Kathleen, seventy-one, likes to say, “well you are the expert,” to which I respond, “I can’t possibly be the expert about your internal experience, but together, maybe we can come closer to understanding that.” So, Kathleen, based on her upbringing, needs to see me as the omnipotent one, needing an idealized helper who guides her through her life, and I, the professional, educated for many years, and yet, still insisting that there is no one truth, only a way of understanding her psychic landscape. This struggle, as I like to teach my students, is the “working through,” the experience of re-framing long-held beliefs in which one feels anxious, dependent and insecure, rather than the confidence to gather one’s internal experience to make thoughtful and measured decisions. So, unlike other professional/patient relationships, the psychotherapeutic relationship has no expert, only a willing guide through the sometimes dark internal world, of the curious. The stripping of the expert job, again, does not sit well with massive systems which try to pinhole psychotherapy into small bits, as this “egos in the ring” is not a small bit, but a decisively nonlinear activity.