DALLAS SOCIETY FOR PSYCHOANALYTIC PSYCHOLOGY
B U L L E T I N
COMING OF AGE AND THE OTHER
Don Brix, Ph.D.
Don Brix, Ph.D. will continue DSPP's series on Finding
and Being Found: Self and Other Through the Life Span with the March presentation: Coming
of Age and the Other, a look at the issue of patients of advanced age in
psychoanalytic treatment. Denise Humphrey, M.M. will be the discussant for Dr. Brix's
Dr. Brix has provided the following observations as
an introduction to his topic:
" '...He was a man who had faced personal
tragedy without succumbing to bitterness. He could experience moments of depression
without being defeated by it.
He brought to his personal relationships an
enthusiasm tinctured with his characteristic good-humor and sincerity. And each of you
know this ... he simply relished opportunities to make conversation with other human
And finally, in relation to the world he lived in,
he maintained an abiding intellectual curiosity, a gratitude and, perhaps most important
of all I think, a humility, a genuine humility...'
This is an excerpt from a eulogy I wrote on the
occasion of the death of a beloved neighbor. He was in his mid-eighties when he died. So
far as I know he never visited the office of a psychotherapist, not that he needed to. Had
he done so though, he would have been a great patient.
Usually though, whether in terms of overt resistance
or countertransference reactions, aged patients are thought to present us with different
challenges than do younger patients. But do they really?
Reviewing an interesting case written by Calvin
Settlage, M.D., I'll try to examine the issue of advanced age and
psychoanalytically-oriented therapy. I'll also draw some ideas from Sidney Tarachow, M.D.
whose writing I've found useful as a point-of-entry into thinking about the spectrum over
which various therapeutic relationships develop."
Dr. Brix holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from
the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. He worked as a psychologist
at Terrell State Hospital early in his career and then entered private practice in Dallas.
Presently, in addition to his private practice, Dr. Brix works with patients in nursing
homes and one day per week serves the homeless population through an outreach clinic of
Parkland Hospital. Dr. Brix has been a stalwart member of DSPP since its inception and
served on its first slate of officers. He was president of the organization in 1990-1991.
We look forward eagerly to his upcoming presentation.
Date: Wednesday, March 10, 1999
Social Time: 7:00 PM
Time: 7:30 PM
Location: Pecan Creek Office Park
8340 Meadow Road
Speaker: Donald Brix, Ph.D.
Discussant: Denise Humphrey, M.M.
Topic: Coming of Age and the Other
Review of February Meeting
Finding the Other in Metaphor
Ron Schenk, Ph.D.
Cheryl Martin RN, LPC
The DSPP meeting, held in February, offered members
an opportunity to compare and contrast the works of Freud and Jung as analysts with the
poetic writings of T. S. Eliot in "The Wasteland". Ron Schenk, Ph.D., a senior
training analyst for the Inter-Regional Society of Jungian Analysts, presented a
challenging paper entitled, "The Sunken Quest, The Wasted Fisher, The Pregnant Fish:
Finding the Other in Metaphor".
In keeping with this year's DSPP theme of the
intersubjective perspective, Dr. Schenk stated his intention to show how psychoanalysis
emerged out of a cultural context containing guiding metaphors that the psychoanalytic
field used in its formation. In addition, he intended to demonstrate that co-constituted
metaphor may be a path to discovery in intersubjective psychology. He also offered
comments on Eliot's "The Wasteland" to show how a modern poem provides a model
of intersubjective practice through metaphor. Finally, he addressed the notion of
"self" viewed in terms of intersubjectivity, bringing Jung's contributions into
the current DSPP dialogue.
Dr. Schenk prefaced his paper with a tale of his own
failed attempts at becoming a writer and thirty years later being faced with a patient who
"could not write". He then went on in his presentation to develop the cultural
context for the emergence of psychoanalysis. The struggles of modernity at the turn of the
century led the founders of depth psychology in their development of a paradigm that
sought to retrieve meaning from materialism. A key image informing the paradigm was that
journey", in particular, the journey of return.
Freud and Jung were both touched by the significance of archeological finds, physically in
their own fondness for archeological artifacts, as well as metaphorically, as they sought
to define the underlying genesis of surface problems encountered by their patients.
Analytic interpretation became the vehicle for traversing the "journey" into the
depths of the psyche.
Freud and Jung were presented as artistic
psychologists and Eliot as a psychological artist with similarities in their work
connecting them to the developing paradigm. The psychologists, Freud and Jung, "held
that we do not simply carry memories of the actual past experience, rather we create
present images of the past, 'imagoes', combining objective fact and fantasy". The
artist, Eliot, believed that "past poetry writes the present; present poetry rewrites
the past". Dr. Schenk then went on to explore Freud's journey of free association,
Jung's journey of amplification, and Eliot's journey of allusion.
Dr. Schenk suggested that the movement from
one-person to two-person paradigm needs a new genre and proposed that free form poetry,
such as Eliot's, serves as a model for contemporary intersubjectively oriented therapy. He
then offered an erudite comparison of the form and content of "The Wasteland"
with the therapeutic process.
With the somber tones and fragmented form of
"The Wasteland" as background, a case history of a narcissistically disturbed
man consumed with a severe depression was presented. As Dr. Schenk described the case, he
reported that, "the result of this treatment could be summarized as the gradual, but
insistent emergence of death as metaphor". Interpersonal connection was paradoxical
and fleeting, and in the end the patient terminated treatment, choosing to hold on to his
dark world rather than connecting with the other. Dr. Schenk concluded his presentation
with discussion of the symbolic and metaphoric language utilized by Carl Jung.
The invited discussant for Dr. Schenk's paper was
Walter Geerts, Ph.D. Coming from the University of Antwerp, Belgium, Dr. Geert's is a
visiting professor of comparative literature at the University of Texas at Arlington. Dr.
Geert's was respectful but direct in describing Dr. Schenk's presentation as not only
rhetorical but dense. He described the paper as being as "pregnant as the fish
was". He delineated three topics covered by the paper: the story of the therapeutic
relationship in which the analyst's failure reflected the patient's deeper failure;
modernity and post-modernity as a common horizon between literary and psychological
fields; and "what appears at the end to be one huge post-modern text stretching
itself over us". A brief discussion then followed.
I hesitantly would like to close with some personal
comments. I am hoping that the continued development of DSPP programs allows room for
using our monthly meetings as a tool for learning beyond the time of the meeting. With
that in mind, I want to share an experience I had listening to this paper, which
apparently was echoed by some others in the room. As Dr. Schenk was finishing his
presentation, I found myself engaged in a parallel process. He was describing the
disconnected aspects of T. S. Eliot's "The Wasteland" and the disconnected
relationship with his depressed client, and I found myself disconnected from his
presentation. As noted by Dr. Geerts, the paper was dense and full of rhetoric. The
extensive literary jargon and references seemed to distract from the essential theme of
the paper. I applaud Dr. Schenk for bringing Jung into the DSPP dialogue and for being
willing to share such a difficult case which he perceived as ending in failure.
I will freely admit, I am no literary scholar. I am
an ordinary clinician with an ordinary appreciation for practical language. If, as Dr.
Schenk proposes, poetry is to be a catalyst for forming a new paradigm of intersubjective
practice, don't ordinary clinicians need to be able to understand the language of the
Submission deadline is March 15, 1999.
For information and entry forms,
See the DSPP Web Site at
DSPP FILM GROUP
The Scent of Green Papaya
Saturday, March 20, 1999, 6:00 P.M.*
French-Vietnamese drama begins in 1951 when a ten
year old girl goes to work in a Saigon Household.
Lingering, Lovely, and Captivating
Robert Aberg, Ph.D. and Sarah Aberg, LMSW,ACP
A discussion focused on psychoanalytic issues arising
from the film will follow.
*Please note change in day of week and time.