This month’s TTC Talks@1 was presented by Paul Salvage, a Therapy Clinic affiliated practitioner. Here, Kate West Therapy Clinic Associate, summarises what we learnt.
“Therapists at The Therapy Clinic are welcoming TTC Talks @1 as a now regular part of clinic life, as well as the lively discussion that ensues. And this week’s talk with Paul Salvage on Psychoanalysis was no different.
Taking an interesting angle to his talk (and not one we’ve had before) Paul presented as a sort of book club, taking us through some of the key ideas in The New Analysts Guide to the Galaxy (by Antonino Ferro) as a springboard in to cross modality discussion and an opportunity to question some of the assumptions we all hold about analysis. Paul favours the book for what he says is an undogmatic and unstuffy tone, and it’s presentation as a conversation between a new and older analyst.
From the brief intro we had to the book, it appears Ferro has taken the analysis ‘rule book’ (if there ever was one) and thrown it in the bin, allowing much more space for the thinking around and development of psychoanalytic practice. He approaches subjects such as silence in the session, payment of sessions, projective identification, side effects for the therapist, touch, common sense, endings and analytic tools with a fresh perspective and one that arguably brings analytic practice much closer to other modalities.
Many therapists may well welcome Ferro’s argument that ‘Psychoanalysis is a simple thing, that we psychoanalysts for a long time have been trying to make as complicated and obscure as possible.’
As a team of therapists from different backgrounds drawing from varying models of therapy we realise there is much more that unites us in practice than divides us. Whether you’d interpret a client’s complaint of being cold with something about the chill of the therapeutic relationship, or simply turn the heater up, in our discussion we seemed to agree with Ferro that at the core of Analysis is a process that allows the working through of reality, and this idea is not unique to analysis but core to all our practice. But is it as simple as Ferro argues it to be? Perhaps it really is once we can turn the volume down on our theoretical models and our own anxieties.
Doing this leaves us more capacity ‘to dream the patient’s communications, to deconstruct them’ and to construct together with the patient ‘worlds which, before that were neither thinkable nor perhaps even existing, to help us transform mental blocks into thinkable thoughts and liveable emotions’. Freud may well be turning in his grave at the idea his invention is simple but we felt in our discussion that if we can sit with a client alongside their difficulties, with no agenda, no pressure for the ‘right thing to say now’ and really be with them, we’re definitely on the right path – whether it be analytical work or not.”