Thinking Here and Now
Conversations with innovators in psychotherapy
Aner Govrin & Sharon Ziv-Beiman
Irma Brenman Pick
Falseness and authenticity in the countertransference
The conversation will take place on Sunday,
25.7.21, 19:30-21:15 (Israel Time; UTC+3)
and will be available via ZOOM.
Participation fee: 17$ or 15€
We invite you to join us in a live Zoom conversation with psychoanalyst Irma Brenman Pick in another meeting of our series, "Thinking Here and Now- Conversations with innovators in psychotherapy.
"When the patient comes with good news, they want congratulations, for instance. And, of course, one's impulse is to congratulate the patient. I think, if one can, it is more helpful to address that
with the patient. What the patient hopes for is that you will be able to celebrate this with them,
or the patient feels that you won't be able to celebrate this with them, or the patient feels but you
also attached to your technique that that's more important than the patient's feeling. There'd be all
sorts of ways of talking about it, which seem to me to touch a deeper chord than just saying
congratulations." (From an interview with Irma Brenman Pick, 2015)
Among the Kleinians, Irma Berman Pick is known as a psychoanalyst who is particularly interested in the internal work of the analyst during the therapeutic encounter.
In her most widely read paper, 'Working through in the countertransference' (1985), she stresses the need for the analyst not only to receive projections but also to do her own internal psychic work and to consider how such projections from the patient interact with the analyst's own inner world.
Brenman posits that If analysts fail to consider their own conflictual responses, they risk enacting that which they would be interpreting. Confronted by a difficult patient, the analyst has to go through a more or less personal experience, paired with that of his patient, to reach disavowed material. This task is necessarily complex, but without it, she believes, analysts are in danger of commenting mechanically on projective and introjective processes.
Brenman Pick is interested in how countertransference can enhance the authenticity of both patient and analyst. Being a false self analyst is always a danger since the patient can comply with the false self-analyst, and a self duo can come out of this, so sort of false talk, or superficial conversation, that doesn't really touch the deeper feelings of the patient. Perhaps the baby looked at the mother's face and tried to understand if the mother is feeding out of love or out of duty? Even small babies can be sensitive to the inauthenticity of the part of the mother. Likewise, how can the analyst be sure if an intervention is authentic or not? We need to be constantly alert to self-deception on the part of both patient and the analyst.
The conversation will focus on falseness, authenticity, and freedom within the therapeutic relations, what kind of internal work is required within psychoanalytic encounters and how can one recognize in deeply disturbed patients' material early ways of relating to the analyst?
We will also talk about Irma's supervision with Bion and Rosenfeld, and the state of the Kleinian theory today.
Irma Brenman Pick came to London from South Africa in 1955 and trained first at the Tavistock Clinic as a Child Psychotherapist, (qualified 1960) then at the British Institute of Psychoanalysis as Adult and Child Analyst (qualified 1965). She is now a Distinguished Fellow and Training Analyst in the British Society, and a past President of the Society. Her published papers include: 'On Adolescence', 'Working through in the Counter Transference', and 'Concern: Spurious and Real' – all 3 in the IJPA.
Together with her late husband Eric Brenman she has taught extensively abroad.