Errant Selves: A Casebook of Misbehavior by Arnold I. Goldberg

By Arnold I. Goldberg

An immense addition to the psychoanalytic casebook literature, Errant Selves: A Casebook of Misbehavior is a set of case reviews devoted to the psychoanalytic figuring out and remedy of habit issues. The members to this quantity discover instances of perversion, delinquency, and dependancy during which the misbehavior at factor served basically to beat back painful impacts or states of dysphoria with a view to in achieving a easy integrity of the self. For those sufferers, the pathway to self-cohesion entailed the florid appearing out usual of narcissistic habit problems.

Clinical readers of all persuasions might be intrigued through therapy narratives that chronicle the specified demanding situations of operating with sufferers who, in Goldberg's phrases, "were neither unitary selves nor individuals with a simple skill to strengthen or reconstitute themselves in socially applicable ways." Of specific curiosity is the participants' sensitivity to what they overlooked with those afflicted and troubling sufferers; they recount examples of skewed concentration, of strained clarification, even of obtrusive medical omission, all of which recommend that the sufferers' psychic splits activated parallel splits at the a part of their therapists.

What emerges from the individuals' efforts, then, is particularly a lot a casebook of our time. It extends the purview of psychoanalysis to the developmental heritage and psychodynamics of disavowal; explores the analytic administration of antisocial, perverse, and addicted sufferers; and examines the analyst's subjective presence in those remedies, together with his or her power for self-deception and collusion. And it does so within the context of probing a theoretical factor of continuous functional import: even if psychoanalytic treatment is healthier served by means of viewing the sufferer as a unitary person with a coherent feel of organisation and an built-in set of values and pursuits.

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Sample text

He did not tell me who was in the photograph and asked me to guess. He was amazed that I was of course able immediately to see that it was he. Breathlessly he asked how I thought he looked. I felt extremely uncomfortable. It seemed to me his bringing in the treasured photograph was a valuable analytic gift, a picture of his hidden, grandiose, exhibitionistic self, and therefore something to be welcomed warmly and cherished. At the same time, the image didn't seem that of a beautiful woman to me at all.

It is less effective to diminish or eliminate one's view, often grandiose, of reality on the unstructured side of the split, than to buttress one's ability to hold different views of reality at the same time, to be aware of both and use the resources of a more integrated personality to respond to both. Alter talked in the last several sessions of his analysis of how his greed had cost him $20,000 in legal fees. The "pull" of his grandiosity remains, albeit diminished, and requires constant vigilance.

On return from my vacation I called the Alters in together and told them of my decision. Afterward, I felt horrible. In subsequent sessions, it was apparent that I had never heeded Alter's allusions to termination, as he reminded me, and that Mrs. Alter had understood me to mean that I wanted her to seek therapy with someone else. Alter indicated that he and his wife had discussed his desire to terminate in about 6 months. These discussions had begun 6 months earlier, and the Alters had decided together that, although he had to give up the disability payments he was entitled to for 7 more years, he felt good about what he was planning to do.

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