DISCUSSION PAPER ( 2 ) PRESENTED TO THE CPJA ON NOVEMBER 28TH by ALAN LIDMILA ( EXECUTIVE MEMBER OF THE CPJA AND MEMBER OF THE HALLAM INSTITUTE OF PSYCHOTHERAPY )

CPJA Discussion Statement: Parameters of Practice/2

We need to address the question ‘what is it we do?’ (and what is it we try not to do). Because it may be unclear, and therefore requires redefinition. This short paper seeks to delineate core principles of psychoanalytic practice, based in a reliable theoretical model that has evolved over time.
Essentially, it is a concrete restatement of our ‘flag statement’ (revised 2012) that in simple but meaningful terms may be listed as a series of principles of practice as follows:
• Rhythm (translation: key arrangements around time, frequency, and regularity, typically longer than shorter, based in an understanding concerning, among other factors, infant development);
• Regression (trans: also concerning time and the importance of early or past experience ,including as re-experienced, possibly re-enacted, in the therapy setting);
• The Unconscious (trans: mental operations , perhaps determining behaviour, not immediately apparent, the meaning of which may be accessed through language, dream and symbol);
• Setting/Frame (trans: the therapeutic space, involving the above, as well as, crucially, attention to boundary and abstinence, as far as possible intellectually, and certainly physically);
• Language and Thought ( trans: the epistemophiliac impulse, aka the desire to know – and fear knowing – as investigated, facilitated and understood , quintessentially, via language and speech);
• Interpersonal Relationship ( trans: the inter-subjective relationship/s between therapist and client, often involving multiple objects of a transferential and countertransferential nature, that may come to be identified and recognised by means of insight and interpretation);
• Supervision ( trans: therapist normally has recourse to the ‘3rd position’ of supervision, wherein there is located some authority of the model, in addition to managing this position internally).

It therefore follows, as distinguishing features of p-a practice, that normally or typically, we do not advise, and try to be judicious in our use of creativity. We are also cautious about, if not actually prohibit, forms of acting-in, which may include touch, extra-sessional contact, or excessive dosages of expertise, sermonising or prescriptions. We may utilise short-term dynamic approaches, but we do not consciously adapt our approach by wandering into territories best occupied by other modalities. We try not to succumb to pressures for a ‘quick-fix’, or be seduced by the fantastic, whether ‘new idea’ or latest toy.
This statement is really a reprise, in edited form, of my thinking of twenty years ago,* which was what many jobbing analytic therapists thought anyway, and what most should be thinking now! Some things do not need to change, for the sake of change. Notwithstanding my claimed adherence to the above rubric, over 25years I have become, subject to client or pathology, relatively more flexible, responsive and creative in my personal style. But, I suggest, it is within, not beyond the pale

This entry was posted by Rhoda Dorndorf on Monday, December 7th, 2015 at 7:38 pm and is filed under Opinion.