Posted by Dr. Vollmer on November 8, 2013
Christopher Bollas PhD argues that we, psychoanalysts, do not celebrate our love of our patients, enough. The pleasure in mental exploration, both for the patient, and his guide, his therapist, is, at times, a joyful experience of mining the brain. Yep, this is the subject of my next class, the pain and pleasure of helping people with self-discovery, since the excitement of new ideas goes in parallel with witnessing pain and suffering. Perhaps that is why so few of my colleagues retire. Rachel, twenty-two, feels hurt and betrayed by her parents, but she is also enamored by her ability to describe, to narrate, her retrospective analysis of her childhood. Similarly, I feel for her despairing feelings, but I share in her joy in finding words to describe her internal world. Her “true self” as Winnicott would say is bubbling up, in a way which expands her internal landscape. With her pain and her narration, she feels more “whole” by her account. The clarity she gains from describing her perceptions goes a long way to building her self-esteem, or so she tells me. The work is not just fulfilling, it is pleasurable in these moments.