Psychotherapists and psychoanalysts enter an emotional relationship when they treat a patient; no matter how experienced they may be, their personalities inform but also limit their ability to recognise and give thought to what happens in the consulting room. The Psychoanalyst’s Superegos, Ego Ideals and Blind Spots investigates the nature of these constrictions on the clinician’s sensitivity.
Vic Sedlak examines clinicians’ fear of a superego which threatens to become censorious of themselves or their patient and their need to aspire to standards demanded by their ego ideals. These dynamic forces are considered in relation to treatments which fail, to supervision and to recent innovations in psychoanalytic technique. The difficulty of giving thought to hostility is particularly stressed.
Richly illustrated with clinical material, this book will enable practitioners to recognise the unconscious forces which militate against their clinical effectiveness.
Table of Contents
Introduction 1: The Aims of Psychoanalytical Treatment 2: The Psychoanalyst’s Superegos 3: From Dread to Anxiety 4: The Psychoanalyst’s Ego Ideals 5: Contemplating Analytic Failure 6: The work of supervision 7: Considering Other Approaches 8: Hostility Terminable and Interminable
Vic Sedlak is a Training and Supervising Psychoanalyst of the British Psychoanalytical Society in private practice in the North of England.
"This pilgrim’s progress of one psychoanalyst’s professional and personal growth has the ring of truth, beautiful even when painful, opening wisdom that can come only from difficult clinical experience approached with relentless inquiry and ruthless honesty. Clearly knowing our several theories, Sedlak transcends their limits, staying ever true to the anguished uncertainties of clinical actuality. Compelling to read, this beautifully written report of one analyst’s struggles was, for me, emotionally evocative and educationally enlightening. It is a compelling master class in the perplexity of analytic exploration, where each journey is original and unique."-Warren S. Poland, Sigourney Awardee 2009, Author Intimacy and Separateness in Psychoanalysis
"Vic Sedlak is much admired as a psychoanalyst who can sustain an independent point of view and is not afraid to speak his mind. Here he examines the role of the analyst’s reactions and responses in the psychoanalytic session. He covers a wide field but for me he is particularly convincing when he describes how the analyst’s responsiveness is especially affected by his capacity to accept the emergence of hatred, hostility and destructiveness in his patient and also in himself. His arguments and the vivid clinical material makes for fascinating reading that all those working in the mental health field will find valuable and stimulating."-John Steiner, Training and Supervising Psychoanalyst, Distinguished Fellow, British Psychoanalytical Society
"Anyone who is interested in understanding the unconscious dynamics in the therapist/patient relationship will be rewarded by reading Vic Sedlak’s accessible and insightful study of the "glancing" thought; the thought that the clinician resists knowing without knowing he or she is avoiding it. Sedlak, a highly respected and experienced psychoanalyst, writes openly and honestly about the role his super-ego and ego ideal play in supporting or impeding his efforts to recognise and understand the glancing thought in his on-going clinical practice and supervision."-Donald Campbell, Training and supervising analyst, Distinguished Fellow and past President, British Psychoanalytic Society