Pain in the Analytic Session: The workshops last for about ten hours in total and use the CCM method of discussion. The workshops are informed by the ongoing work of the CCM Association moderators for the past fifteen years. The CCM method , originally developed as part of the European Psychoanalytic Federation's Ten Year Scientific Initiative involves structuring discussion in steps - ordinary clinical discussion focused on the presenter's work in the sessions, close focus on the function of each of the presenter's interventions Step 1 and construction of the presenter's working model of psychoanalysis Step 2.
These formulations are then further discussed in the moderators' group some months later and the overall thoughts eventually fed back to the workshop group and the presenter. Is there common ground about how they can become transformed or not in psychoanalysis, or if not, what are the lines of divergence?
It is a sign, perhaps of what we feel most uncertain about and want to know more about. Pain in the analytic session, it seems, known or hidden, is experienced in many and varied ways — sometimes apparently paralysing the analytic process and sometimes becoming transformed to be used as an opportunity for progress. Pain seems to be around a lot in current discourse. Some psychoanalysts and their institutions are experiencing profound existential pain: Others feel this will obliterate any specific distinction between psychoanalysis and psychotherapies.
In the sessions we discuss, taken from our workshops, the psychoanalysts presenting or group members responding to presenters, often seem to feel painfully under threat and obligation, as we have noted before. Sometimes, despite the 2-Step method, group members find themselves more or less subtly attacking presenters, at other time protecting and praising them a bit too lavishly.
Many patients present severely problematic early histories — whether of apparent neglect, insensitivity or outright cruelty and abuse. This can turn up in sessions with accounts of how analysts have become very unsure if psychoanalysis is the treatment of choice. A particular feature of these situations is that group members are absolutely convinced either that the adjustment is or is not absolutely necessary.
Presenters are often surprised at any doubts mentioned in the workshops. Special measures they had taken had often not been mentioned to the moderator ahead of the workshop. Presenters might be implicitly criticised by some at this point or defended by others, as though the analysts were extremely fragile. Clearly, when threats are in the atmosphere, doors get closed as ways of thinking about them, their origin and the alternative ways they might be dealt with, all become hard.
On the first Friday afternoon, we will attempt a spontaneous roundtable discussion between the moderators to talk about why we chose this theme and to open up what we think may be crucial about it.
We think recognising and differentiating when and how one is in pain and when and how the patient is feeling pain, may be crucial if analysts are to seize any opportunity there may be to transform pain into change.
We will also be presenting some working papers addressing some of the relevant issues we discover in the working models of psychoanalysis that we have been finding.