Psychoanalytic Gems – Even More
D. W. Winnicott has made significant clinical contributions to both building therapeutic alliance and maintaining a positive, helpful focus in psychotherapy. Below I have noted various approaches to
use in your therapy. Use of these “gems” requires considerable knowledge and skill by the therapist. Here is the list:
- Respect the client’s agency, and do nothing to exert direct control over her/him.
- Continue to support personal goals, striving, and motivation in your client. Promote healthy maturational processes in this growth.
- If you understand how, use transitional space/transitional objects in our therapy to enhance positive emotional holding and nurturing of the client’s true self. Build more safety.
- Work to improve the client’s self-identifications, self-image, and self-objects. Where helpful note that initial introjections are the product of attachment experience. They occupy both intrapsychic and interpersonal space and time.
- Introduce playful free association as a method in your therapy. Use interpretation only when it is helpful.
- Support directly the client’s need for “continuity of being” in both therapy and day-to-day life experiences. This often includes integration of the true self and false self.
- Use gentle reflection to help move insight into action: changes in thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.
- Notice both transference and cuntertransference experiences in therapy. Use these to better understand your client, as well as yourself.
- When possible enhance the client’s safe use of self soothing behaviors as a form of “primal satisfaction.”
- Help your client to integrate fragments of unhelpful past experiences. This process should help to enhance the presence of a coherent self-narrative. Such narratives often involve early traumatic experiences, and may be activated in the here-and-now of therapy.
- Do whatever is possible to re-integrate the sense of a secure self. Maintain a safe and accepting therapeutic environment to do so.
For more refer to Giovacchini, P. L. (1990). Tactics and Techniques in Psychoanalytic Therapy. Vol. 3, The Implications of Winnicott’s Contributions. Northvale, NJ: J. Aronson, pp.1- 243.
Anthony R. Quintiliani, PhD., LADC
From the Eleanor R. Liebman Center for Secular Meditation in Monkton, Vermont
Author of Mindful Happiness
New Edition of Mindful Happiness in Production…Coming soon!