Inconceivable Conceptions: Psychological Aspects of Infertility and Reproductive Technology

By Jane Haynes; Juliet Miller | Go to book overview

Chapter 9

Love, hate and the generative couple

George Christie and Ann Morgan

George Christie is a psychiatrist, psychoanalyst and group psychotherapist.

Ann Morgan is a paediatrician and group and individual psychotherapist.


Introduction

Over twenty years ago the authors first came together at the Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne, as co-therapists for a group of mothers of disturbed children. As our professional relationship developed we began to conduct analytic groups with psychotherapy patients in private practice. Over time we have become increasingly interested in how a sound co-therapy relationship can strengthen group containment, facilitate trust, and provide a safe space for the emergence and creative transformation of destructive forces within the group. An example of this is the way in which a well-established analytic group can survive a frightening outbreak of aggression involving several members, and then, just before the end of the session, have someone produce a moment of spontaneous, genuine humour that brings everybody alive in a burst of simultaneous and freeing laughter.

Psychoanalysts, philosophers and poets appear to be in agreement that our potential for achieving creative transformations depends upon our being able to retain some intuitive awareness of the powerful destructiveness within, together with a capacity to organise this into an acceptable avenue of expression, as in a moment of generative humour. It is of interest that such a capacity is increasingly being described, intrapsychically, in terms of maternal holding; a holding of the largely unknown destructiveness, and perhaps also a joint parental capacity to start organising it in some way. The Jungian analyst Rosemary Gordon describes the creative person as being able to bring into life, intrapsychically, a genital bisexual activity, requiring an identification both with the father who gives, and with the mother who receives, and bears, the child (Gordon 2000). These ideas link with how the containment provided by a sound parental couple, providing space and opportunity for the emergence of play, can be of importance in facilitating the emergence of a child's creative potential.

We believe these ideas are relevant not only for the creative but also for the procreative potential within all of us. The therapeutic couple have their part to play in the treatment of clients with unexplained or relatively unexplained infertility. Our experience suggests that any individual work we do with infertile clients can be helpfully augmented by an infertile couples group experience, led by the experienced co-therapy couple.

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Inconceivable Conceptions: Psychological Aspects of Infertility and Reproductive Technology
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgements x
  • Introduction 1
  • Chapter 1 - Introduction 3
  • Chapter 2 - Assisted Reproductive Technology and the Fertility Clinic 11
  • Experiencing Infertility 17
  • Chapter 3 - Clinical Waste 19
  • Chapter 4 - One Man's Story 27
  • Psychological Aspects 31
  • Chapter 5 - Eros and Art 33
  • Notes 45
  • Chapter 6 - Mourning the Never Born and the Loss of the Angel 47
  • Chapter 7 - The Battle with Mortality and the Urge to Procreate 60
  • Bibliography 72
  • Chapter 8 - Myths and Reality in Male Infertility 73
  • Bibliography 84
  • Chapter 9 - Love, Hate and the Generative Couple 86
  • Changing Patterns of Kinship 103
  • Chapter 10 - The Story of Seth's Egg 105
  • Chapter 11 - Seth 109
  • Chapter 12 - Gifts of Life in Absentia 120
  • Chapter 13 - Women's Work 143
  • Bibliography 165
  • Chapter 14 - Egg Donation 166
  • The Shadow 179
  • Chapter 15 - Dark Reflections 181
  • Afterword 205
  • Chapter 16 - Afterword 207
  • Appendix 217
  • Glossary of Terms Used in Art (Assisted Reproductive Technology) 219
  • Index 227
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