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The walls within: working with defenses against otherness

Online Conference 5-11 July 2021

Dreaming and Transformation Beyond the Couch

Introduced to Freuds inspired take on dream work at WITS University in Johannesburg by Prof. I. D. MacCrone, post his analysis with James Strachey, I proceeded to my own couch dream time with Sam Stein, who encouraged to go and grow in his training ground; and I flew to London in 1961. Visiting Hyde Park the day after my arrival, I wept with joy and relief at the freedom of speech accorded to a man propounding his socialist manifesto from a soap box; but a few days later experienced painful reminders of South African apartheid when I began to meet the adversarial splits and schisms among Freuds second generation extended psycho-analytic family: Anna Freud and the Kleinian Tavistock ran competing Child Analytic trainings from which the parental London Institute of Psycho-analysis stood aloof (while itself privately bogged down in argument between its own Kleinian, Freudian and Independent members). The Institute also forbad engagement with Jungians; and ignored the contributions of those of its own members who extended the clinical application of psycho-analytic insights beyond the couch; and its developmental potential in the fields of personal, educational, managerial and organizational development. (Kirstner, D. 2005 ). In this context my focused intention to train as a Psychoanalyst who would lead others on the Royal Dream Road, changed gears and became an ongoing journey of learning, sharing and discovery. On the clinical side this journey has included apprenticeships in full analysis; analytically informed clinical work with children, young people, adults, couples, families, groups (Tavistock Child, Adult and Family Therapy Departments; The and Institute of Marital Studies and the Group Analytic Society), and 2 therapeutic communities. In the fields of education and management, I engaged with and applied available psychoanalytic dream informed ways of being useful. These have included; Tavistock-Leicester and Bath-Tavistock Group Relations Conferences. Career Consultancy (with Herbert Phillipson at the Tavistock Institute), Management Selection and Development (with Harold Bridger), Management Education (as U K Head of Counselling and Career Development in The European School of Management ), Balint-Main Groups, as Leader of the Leaders Group of the U. K. Institute for Psycho-Sexual Medicine); Social Dreaming (Lawrence, W G 1991); and a University based Learning Community (co-founded with Jem Thomas and Anne-Marie Cummins in the Centre for Psycho-Social Studies of the University of the West of England) With regard to my internal organization (Armstong, D. and French, R. 2005), a process of friendly dialogue has developed between the above listed, often internalized as separate or competing, developments which have stemmed from Freuds brain child. On this long journey, I found encouragement in Eisolds capacity to adhere to his credentialised psycho-analytic practice while constructively questioning Freuds propensity to ignore non-analytic discoveries and marginalize his own active engagement with couch free and non-clinical facets of his psycho-analytic brain child. (Eisold, K 1994 ) and in one of my personal analystss (Don Meltzer) introducing me on his couch to a capacities for inspired interpretation and the apprehension of beauty. More broadly, and more recently as a member of the IARPP, I have felt at home with Relational Psychoanalysts in their shared capacity to hold externally competing theories in mind, and in their commitment to psychoanalysis as a process in which analyst and analysand are both transformed by a process of thirdness. And just this year, thanks to Chris Hill and Eve Steel, I have begun to engage with Stuart Twemlows capacity to transforming to peaceful co-operation Schools where bullying pre-dominates by drawing, inter-alia, on his experience with both psycho-analysis, and the martial arts. (Twemlow, S. 1999 )'