Academic journal article International Journal of Psychoanalysis

Recovering the Psychic Apparatus *

Academic journal article International Journal of Psychoanalysis

Recovering the Psychic Apparatus *

Article excerpt

In this paper I intend to describe the work of recuperation of the psychic apparatus of a patient as a way of achieving the elaboration of psychotic parts and of making possible the development of the capacity of thinking and feeling. This recovery, which was actually almost the construction of a psychic apparatus, allowed the development of the capacity to think symbolically and to establish object relations. I will report a case maintaining what is pertinent in relation to the issue addressed, leaving out other elements present in the analytic process.

I will try within the scope of this Congress to stick to the use of the psychoanalytic tools that we have today, when in the 21st century we are faced with the challenges brought by patients who cannot even inform what they feel or think. These patients live in a world where action prevails and conflict is not experienced and where few relations are established which makes it necessary to help them build a psychic apparatus capable of symbolizing and consequently thinking and establishing relations. In this case these features are radicalized by the psychotic state presented.

Freud differed from the psychiatrists of his time being able to listen to what his hysterical patients said and revealed enabling him with this listening to see beyond what was said and known. Listening allowed contact with a whole world of feelings and emotions that until then were not understood. I believe that nowadays we have to take this lesson of Freud as an example of listening to patients who came to us with various complaints or even without knowing what they complain about or feel. Psychoanalytic listening remains a major psychoanalytic instrument.

Bion (1962a) called alpha function the transformation of rudimentary emotions into alpha elements. That is, the function that the object has of containing rudimentary emotions and experiences that are projected by the subject so that they can be slowly digested psychically and thought by the object. In his model container/contained Bion (1962a) calls our attention to the object that receives the projections of the baby, metabolizes them and returns them to the baby giving a different meaning to the projected. In this model the baby introjects an object that receives and understands its anxieties. These experiences, common to humans, form a pattern of object relations that develops throughout the individual's life. This pattern of relationship is what arises in the transferential context of an analysis.

I agree with R. Levy's assertion that Bion's great contribution to the formation of symbols occurs within a bond: "Bion examined the entire process of symbol formation from its very beginning to its functioning in the thinking apparatus. However, Bion's greatest contribution was his assertion that the entire symbol-forming process occurs, and only occurs, within the heat of a link" (Levy, 2012).

But if in our model we encounter situations of mismatches between infant and mother due to difficulties in one or the other, or even in both, then we have a model of object relationship that can become troublesome. Certainly, we will have different experiences in the transference relationship with one model or the other. These differences are fundamental to the understanding of the relationship between analyst and patient.

So we have here elements to say that the constitution of a baby's mind can occur through a combination of characteristics coming from the baby itself with those experiences coming from objects. In this sense I believe it is of fundamental importance to separate a real relationship with the object, that is, a realistic perception from a phantasy that an individual has about an experience with the object, a perception permeated by excessive projective identification. It is not always possible to distinguish one experience from the other, which requires the analyst's attention in the interaction with the patient. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.