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Teresa Brennan

Vocabulary. Chapters 1-2
by

Diane Davis

on 11 April 2011

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Transcript of Teresa Brennan

Brennan defines it as “a process whereby one person’s or one group’s nervous and hormonal systems are brought into alignment with another’s” (9). For example, when women live together or spend a great deal of time together, their menstruation cycles tend to sync up with each other. Brainwave entrainment is a big business right now—--it involves bringing brainwaves into sync with an external stimulus for a particular purpose (sleep inducing CDs, for example). But rave music is also about entrainment: it aims to sync bodily rhythms to the beat of the music. Entrainment: Engaging in a synchronous rhythm. Foundational fantasy: begins with the infant’s hallucination that it is both self-contained and in control of its primary care-giver. Projection: the unconscious denial of one’s own (possibly positive but usually negative) attributes, thoughts, desires, or emotions, and ascribing them to someone or something outside oneself. When famous talk radio personalities adopt a no tolerance position on drug use or users, for instance, and then turn out to be addicted to drugs themselves: that is projection at work. When a televangelist or congressperson bitterly denounces infidelity in his flock or the President of the United States and then turns out to be having extramarital affairs: that is projection at work. Homophobia also involves projection: one’s own homosexual desires are vehemently denied and projected onto others, whom one then persecutes for those very desires. But projection is also a primitive defense mechanism that we all use fairly frequently; it protects us from having to deal with the truth about ourselves. If I value generosity but also somewhere sense my own stinginess, I am likely to see stinginess in everyone else. If I have a somewhat unconscious desire to ditch my responsibility and live for ME, I am likely to detect (and to hate) that desire in various other people. Projective Identification: A situation in which I experience feelings that belong to someone else who is unable to access them but instead projects them into (not just onto) me. Say, we’re married and you unconsciously want to have a fling—--a desire you both consciously deny and find reprehensible--—and you project that desire onto me, convinced that I am the one who wants to have a fling. You start relating to me as if I am a cheater, as if I am harboring thoughts of cheating, —and suddenly or eventually I do begin to have them. I may even actually start cheating. But this was your desire, not mine. And now I am fulfilling your desire as if it were mine. So projective identification is a self-fulfilling prophesy in which your false belief about me prompts you to relate to me in a way that alters my behavior: making your belief true. I am taken over by your projection. Transference: Believed to be an unconscious redirection of powerful feelings for some important figure from childhood (usually mom or dad) to another, who stands in for him or her. As it is traditionally understood, it is a repetition of previous emotins in an earlier relationship. In psychotherapy, I (the patient) transfer my powerful and unresolved (usually repressed) feelings for my parental figure onto the analyst, with whom I then work through those feelings, have the conversations and arguments and screaming fits I never got the chance or didn’t have the strength to have with the parent. In Freudian-style psychoanalysis, the analyst had the patient (the analysand) lie on a couch facing away from him or her and didn’t say much. That made it easier for the psychoanalyst to become whoever the analysand needed him or her to be, for transference to get started. Say I am ucsly driven by the belief that Dad didn’t approve of me, and that leads me to seek that approval in a long string of inappropriate lovers who remind me of Dad. If I can transfer that unresolved demand for approval onto the analyst, who stands in for Dad, we can then begin to work through that desire for approval, to play it out so that it becomes a conscious wound that can begin to heal—--perhaps I;ll be able to stop choosing lovers who remind me of dad. Countertransference: The reverse. But if corporeal existents were self-contained, entrainment, for example, would not be possible. As it is typically understood, the phenomenon of projection doesn't challenge the foundational fantasy: it is thought to begin within "me," and I project my affect outward. There could be no projective identification for self-contained individuals. What Brennan is suggesting is that transference is not simply a repetition of past affects. The phenomenon of transference indicates instead the patient's susceptibility to the analyst's affect. Traditionally, it describes the situation in which the analyst redirects powerful feelings for and wishes about an important childhood figure toward the patient. This is how Freud described the phenomenon. Brennan, however, is suggesting that the analyst is just as susceptible to the patient's affect as the patient is to the analyst's. Neither, IOW, is self-contained. In transference, the analyst's affect gets inside the patient; in countertransference, the patient's affect gets inside the analyst. Projective identification indicates *leakage*. Traditional psychoanalysis contends that individual (biological) drives are the condition for relations. Drives and Object Relations What Brennan is proposing, however, is that even drives are shaped by social interaction. Diseases of Attentive Energy ADHD
Chronic Fatigue Syndrom
Fibromyalgia Drive theory suggests that there are certain physiological needs and that a negative state of tension is created when these needs are not satisfied. When a need is satisfied, drive is reduced and the organism returns to a state of homeostasis and relaxation. As an illusion of self-containment, the foundational fantasy grounds the myths of the ego’s boundedness and of women’s tractability—--the belief that women are easily led. Drives lead toward objects ("Object Relations") associated with fulfillment. I do this, it is believed, because I am not psychically healthy--healthy people don't have these sorts of boundary issues.
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