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SCIENTIFIC MEETING – Releasing the Gordian Knot: Working with the Encrypted Imago

SCIENTIFIC MEETING - Releasing the Gordian Knot: Working with the Encrypted Imago

Presenter: Susan Baxt

Wednesday, September 9, 2020: 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm

TPS Scientific Meeting: Open to Members, Affiliates/Guests, TIP Candidates, and ATPPP Trainees only.

Beginning with Freud and gathering momentum in the last 25 years, various authors have examined a particular type of block to the analytic process which is apart from a patient’s typical store of resistances. Examples would be the bastion (Baranger, Baranger and Mom), unrepresented mental states (Botella, Bottella; Levine), unmapped mental life (Bergstein), autistic encapsulated parts (Mitrani), encrypted imago (Abraham and Torok). Although each concept describes a split off, unacknowledged sometimes unsymbolized aspect of the patient’s psyche, they also differ in important ways. Further, while many articles have been devoted to the elaboration of such stumbling blocks only glancing attention has been given to the technical issues involved in overcoming the impasse. Following a review of the literature, I will be outlining one theme in an analysis of 12 years duration and presently in a pre-termination phase. I will show how I approached the tyranny in our work of her dissociated paternal imago and what I believe to have been the key moments in my patient’s progress — a clearly defined subset of her dreams and five real life events. None of these incidents were particularly unusual yet I came to realize that they offered us access to this split off material: following our struggle with each, most of the threads of our work which beforehand had been only partially resolved, were addressed and integrated. In the ensuing discussion, I will present thoughts on my identification of and treatment approach to her Gordian knot.

Learning Objectives:

At the end of this presentation:

  1. Participants will be able to recognize some of the cues to a split off imago that is impacting the psychoanalytic process.
  2. Participants will have a deeper understanding of the constellation of childhood experiences that lead the patient to hold herself together in this way.
  3. Participants will see the value of understanding dreams as a thematic group.
Susan Baxt

Susan Baxt is an adult psychoanalyst in private practice in Montreal and a child analytic candidate in the Michigan Psychoanalytic Institute.

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