intuitive psychoanalysis: cracks in the shadow of the object

The dynamics of intuition are guided by the acquisition of knowledge without the intervention of reason.  Actually, I have had experiences where the intuitive knowledge was actually hampered by the introduction of reason.  The egoic mind with its wrapper of defense frequently will get in the way of finding our freedom to act, believe, perceive or otherwise become aware.

In discussing intuition, I would like to divorce the concept from its often intuited meaning of divining a spiritual awareness.  In other words, for sake of this discussion I am not interested in making a leap that what is intuited is necessarily channeled from an other realm.  I am interested in the manner in which intuition by passes reason, but does not transport us to a realm away from our own individual consciousness.

The examination of an analysands conceptualizations through the exclusive use of reason would render a weak analysis.  If the analyst and patient stay connected only in the world of knowledge and the world of objective reality there will exist little chance for the patient to access through the analysis the inner freedom that he needs in order to have a through examination of ones internal landscape.

The value of objectivity is greatly limited when it is an internal landscape that is being pursued.  Objectivity has its place in the development of a narrative.  Clearly, were a patient actively engaging in lies about events the analyst would not benefit from have an objective appraisal.  But, again it is not an objective appraisal that we are after.  Were I to be lied to, consistently, I still would through the transference of emotional knowledge have an experience of the person that I was witnessing.

Over time it is not the object that renders the nuggets of gold in an analysis, it is the subjective relationship that is arrived at by the two people participating in an exchange of emotional data that fills the quality of the psychoanalytic experience, and gives to both parties a “feeling” of either connectivity, or one of perhaps neglect or dismissiveness. Over time the transference is experienced as either positive or negative and is seldom, if ever experienced differently in the patient and the analyst.  The most usual outcome is that  what ever is experienced is experienced.  For instance, it would be highly unusual for the patient to love the analyst and the analyst to simply be indifferent to the patient.  The induction of feelings is conducted in the dynamics of the relationship and what ever is transpiring in the relationship is a combination of the emotions flowing in each direction–form the patient to the analyst and from the analyst to the patient.

Intuition, not reason, conducts these experiences in both patient and analyst.  However, it is important for the analyst to be well honed in on his or her practice of being awakened to subjective experiences, because it is in the initial stages of the analysis particularly important for the analyst to remain open to the fact that the dialogue on the surface of the relationship may actually be very different from the intuited feelings at the more deeply structured aspects of consciousness.

Of course the classic experience comes to mind that is nearly mythologized by now.  A patient will present with an air of sweetness conducting business, as if, the feelings were positive.  The patient may go out of his or her way to comment on some inconsequential aspect of the room, for example. ” Oh, Dr. your taste in wall art is really stunning, does your wife do your decorating for you?”

The induction here is probably understood by the analyst, but layered over in the consciousness of the patient.  The Analyst will “”know” he has been insulted, but the patient will not know that he/she has let slip out a photograph of layered over hostility.  This kind of knowledge is intuitive knowledge and has no connection to spiritual concepts or concepts that are declaring that the knowledge comes from another source…it simply is more readily available to the trained professional, to the person who has an awakened perception that utilizes data other that that produced by reason alone.

There are concepts of spiritual and creative intuition that I want to discuss, but for the moment, I simply wanted to establish a basis for intuition that describes knowledge arrived at by pulling together from a variety of experiences that are essentially subjective in nature.

Intuition in modern psychoanalysis may well be the center-piece of its theoretical contribution to the field.  It is studied under the definition of counter-transference, but the experience of the counter-transference can only be arrived at subjectively and has therefore always cast our science in a less than scientific light.  Much of the research work of the last few decades have attempted to grapple with this notion and present it in such a way that it can be viewed as objective data.

It seems to me to be a long road to take to arrive at something that is clearly and uniquely an aspect of the human condition. We are born with a capacity to look inward in the same manner that we are born with a linguistic ability.  We have a capacity for language at birth, but the location of our birth decides the specific form that the language will take and a baby born in France will “naturally” grow up speaking french, a baby born in China will “naturally” grow up speaking chinese.

The study of intuition and the study of the subjective, the interconnection of humans at a sub-linguistic level is as important for our science as is the objective theories and theories of technique that we build in order to work inter-subjectively with another human being.


5 comments on “intuitive psychoanalysis: cracks in the shadow of the object

  1. claudia luiz says:

    This was so easily digestible and made such perfect sense – how to get beyond reason…thank you!

  2. claudia luiz says:

    Please send me your e-mail – the one I have at verizon is not working!

  3. Very enlightening. It is such an abstract concept but it makes such perfect sense. Intuition is probably one of the oldest human instincts and rarely, if ever, lets me down so I would imagine it would serve me well in the psychoanalysis environment. This must go in the book! This is essential information and I am lucky to have a Doctor sharp enough to point it out. You the man! LOL. By the way I think uou decorate your office just fine.

  4. Abby says:

    Brilliant! I’ve often been told to listen to my intuition, but have found it nearly smothered by so many layers of reason and defense, still alive, just barely. Perhaps it is a repository of instincts, unconscious perceptions, and memories that synthesize to overcome the chatter and pour forth clarity and truth, if we have the courage and stillness to hear its magic.

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