Self Psychology Page 


Spring 1999

A forum for ideas expressed in a single sentence, or less.

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Editors: George Atwood and David Klugman


Responses and submissions to Deep Thoughts may be posted on the Self Psychology Bulletin Board or sent by email.


l. The traditional diagnostic process requires dividing the constituents of the intersubjective field into the patient and a separate observer, who does not consider himself or herself part of the diagnosis; this separation inevitably denies the patient the opportunity to have a twinship selfobject experience that is needed, generating reactions to this deprivation (feelings of estrangement, isolation, anxiety, depression, and the like) which the observer then identifies as emanating from a pathological condition located inside the patient's mind (or body).

Gil Spielberg & George Atwood


2. There are three known psychiatric conditions: (l) haldol deficiency; (2) valium deficiency; and (3) haldol/valium deficiency. (unnamed surgeon at 3:00 AM, residents' lounge, unnamed hospital,1986)

- - reported to DT by Craig Smart


3. haiku -
Purified affects
Make the truth unspeakable:
"Please don't be angry."

Constance Brunig


4. Against a theory of mental health that posits as its cornerstone a capacity to differentiate between self and other - and that an inability to do so represents a fixation at, regression to, or overvaluing of archaic psychic life characterized by fusion - one may suggest that the absence of a capacity for differentiation as such (be it in the form of pathological merger, conceptions of primal unity, or idealized transcendence experiences) is inevitably the result of trauma, by virtue of which the self has been usurped.

David Klugman


5. Analytic therapy eventually collapses into an arrogance-bound (and unfortunately stable) binary orbit, with the analyst's position of superior objectivity revolving around the patient's position that his or her problem is special, unique, and deserving of such attention, thereby replicating scenarios of early life (and analytic training) in which the analyst paid for parental approval and attention by a surrender of the mind.

Craig Smart and George Atwood


6. What we remain most unconscious of is not something that lives buried deep inside, but quite simply, the World.

Barry Magid


7. Reality is so continuous and pervasive, so solid, impenetrable, inscrutable, so real, that it is virtually impossible for the mind to grasp the simple fact that what we call REALITY is an illusion, a construct, a schema devised by the mind to explain the phenomenon and mystery of life.

Floyd Arnold


Food for Deep Thoughts

A. "I have found little that is 'good' about human beings on the whole. Most of them are trash, no matter whether they publicly subscribe to this or that ethical doctrine or none at all. That is something that you cannot say aloud or perhaps even think.".

Sigmund Freud (from a letter to Oscar Pfister)


B. " element of my psychology that analysis could not reach [was] the feeling that I would be all right if someone would split my head open (front to back) and take out something (tumour, abscess, sinus, suppuration) that exists and makes itself felt right in the centre behind the root of the nose."

Donald Winnicott (from a letter to a colleague)


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