The interest in mentalization as a concept has been steadily on the rise over the last decades. Mentalization and mentalization-based theory aimed at collecting different schools of thought and years of research, and by doing that has succeeded in describing complex phenomena in relation to interaction between people – both when it is successful and when high emotional arousal prevents the ability to mentalize.
Every day on the internet we look for information, play videogames, chat, work, or buy something. But what exactly is the nature of the ‘space’ we surf in and through? Is it virtual or real? What is the actual relation between the ‘virtual’ reality we inhabit in a videogame, or a film, or on the internet and the invisible ‘psychic’ reality which is the main focus of psychoanalysis? How does cyberspace affect issues of corporeality, or time and space, that traditionally constitute subjective experience? What happens to the embodied relationships between people? In Psychoanalysis, Identity and the Internet I suggest that psychoanalytical theory is the best – most appropriate – way for us to understand the nature of the new ‘subjects’ and subjective presences that appear in the modern world of the internet and cyberspace.
The history of psychoanalysis in South Africa is a story of tenaciousness. It began after Wulf Sachs emigrated there in 1922 with his family. Born in Lithuania in1893, he had trained at the Psycho-Neurological Institute in St. Petersburg (under Pavlova and Bechterev), at the University of Cologne, and at London University, where he took a degree in medicine. He began as a General Practitioner in Johannesburg but his interest in psychology was intensified by the experience of working with black schizophrenic patients at the Pretoria Mental Hospital from 1928.
This book of letters between a spirited and cultured woman and her prominent New York psychoanalyst came unbearably close to never existing—literally saved from the fire by a mysterious decision. My communications with the analyst’s daughter on the fate of her father’s papers revealed that, after he died, his wife “collected all correspondence between my father & his patients & had it all destroyed. Many of his patients were still living at the time & worried about their histories being exposed.” His daughter, in fact, said her husband took “tons of cartons over to his tannery in Hoboken N.J. where they were destroyed in large ovens that were used to tan leather. Thus a lot of important material was destroyed” (Gioia Bernheim, personal communications, November 31, 1996; July 2, 2000).
There is internationally the deep power of music, dance, and art with all the meta-understandings and meaning that come from them. However, our species depends on speech, on a voice to communicate. If a baby’s cry did not resonate at a profound level, the baby would die, incapable of attending to its needs. We are constructed in a relational way, primed to hear and be heard. All around the world we are still dealing with the generational pain which was transmitted when a culture developed in which “children should be seen and not heard”, where the unmet need of wounded adults meant there was no space for the actual child. And all around the world we are witnessing groups who cannot bear to hear the pain of others. Subjects are turned into objects by silencing them, not allowing them a voice. Sometimes “the other” is a child, sometimes the other is defined by gender, race, religion, sexuality, class, or politics.
Of Things Invisible to Mortal Sight: Celebrating The Work of James S. Grotstein honors the long and illustrious psychoanalytic career of Dr James Grotstein, one of the most internationally esteemed analysts and scholars in psychoanalysis. His prolific works span over 40 years, and a great part of them were dedicated to exploring the revolutionary contributions of Wilfred Bion.
Meltzer in Venice: Seminars with the Racker Group of Venice demonstrates how in psychoanalytical psychotherapy work groups, seminars, and case discussion are a fundamental element in transmitting and developing ideas. This was the method employed by Dr Meltzer for many years in a highly personalised way as a kind of psychoanalytical laboratory. Such a method enhances the context of the therapeutic relationship: it helps to engage the therapist’s mind with the patient’s, the clinical material naturally expands into the search for meaning, and a situation evolves in which psychoanalytical knowledge is both discovered and rediscovered. The Racker Group turned to Dr Meltzer with intellectual challenges and stimuli that facilitated a process of what he calls ‘inspired learning’. We might venture to say that just as we felt the need to discuss the cases with the maestro, so did Meltzer equally rely on the work group with its clinical material and questionings.