The 2016 NAAP Vision Award

The 2016 NAAP Vision Award

It is with great pleasure that the NAAP, National Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis, Board of Trustees announces that the 2016 Vision Award will be presented jointly to Stephen Soldz, PhD and Steven Reisner, PhD. This recognition by the professional community honors their decade long commitment and work fighting for social justice, representing psychoanalysts and psychologists as standard bearers for ethical practice, and putting their personal and professional lives at risk as a result. Their efforts resulted last year in the release of the Hoffman Report detailing psychologists’ involvement in torture and enhanced interrogations. Subsequently psychologists were prohibited from this type of participation as a breach of professional ethics.

NAAP’s VISION AWARD was conceived as a special award to be presented to a psychoanalyst or psychoanalysts who the Awards Committee and the NAAP Board of Trustees feel have made an outstanding contribution to psychoanalysis and its impact on the life of individuals and the community. It is presented to recipients at the awards banquet during NAAP’s annual conference. This year’s conference, “Masculinity and Manhood”, is being held at the New York Law School on Saturday, November 12th.

We are continually reminded by the media of the harsh reality of professional involvement in the deplorable tactics Soldz and Reisner have fought to bring into the open and ultimately curtail. A recent New York Times article, “How U.S. Torture Left a Legacy of Damaged Minds”*, highlighted the shameful repercussions of enhanced interrogations. NAAP stands with Drs. Soldz and Reisner in challenging mental health professionals to demonstrate ethical and socially responsible behavior. We are grateful that they keep us mindful and accountable for essential cultural and ethical values.

Stephen Soldz and Steven Reisner have spearheaded psychoanalytic research education, and development of many cross-professional programs that bring psychoanalysis into mainstream collaboration. They have provided great visibility about the commitment of psychoanalysts to ethical practice. The Committee believes Drs. Soldz and Reisner set a model for the kind of real world, social commitment by the profession NAAP encourages among psychoanalysts. We are grateful that they keep us mindful and accountable for our essential cultural and ethical values.

Learn more about these remarkable colleagues at our website, We invite you to join us, for all or part of the day, on 11/12, to honor these outstanding colleagues.



Narcissus is the archetype of self- love, a character in mythology unable to merge with another in a loving relationship. In a pool of water Narcissus sees his own reflection and falls in love with this reflection that he thinks is someone else. The narrator of the myth asks: “Why try to grip an image? He does not exist-the one you love and long for” (Ovid, trans.1993, 429-331).

The myth symbolically depicts an image so useful to modern psychoanalysts in their understanding of narcissism. Narcissus can’t tell the difference between “me” (ego) and “not me” (object). Speaking to a blurred reflection in the water, thinking another person is present, not realizing he is talking to himself, he is alone at the pool. If he were a patient we would describe him as alone in the room.

The concept of “one person alone in the room” is difficult to accept for therapists (Semel, 2004, p. 195). In session with a regressed, schizophrenic patient it is easier to see that he is talking to himself in response to voices in his mind that he believes are other people. A patient who arrives at the session on time, has a job, or speaks rationally appears to be functioning on a more advanced level. However when this patient lies on the couch, that patient functioning on an object level outside the room may regress to the level of “alone in the room.” He becomes Narcissus talking to himself, to the images in his mind. In this early stage of development the images of self (ego) and other (object) are confused, overlapped and merged (Spotnitz, 1985).

Phillips (2001) offers an explanation of how the patient in this narcissistic state may affect the analyst. The patient alone in the room may induce the analyst to speak at the wrong time. Sitting with a patient who never asks a question or who never answers one may make the analyst feel that the patient isn’t aware that the analyst even exists, arousing feelings of rejection or inadequacy in the analyst (a narcissistic injury). Instead of following the contact, the analyst may be tempted to talk so the patient will be aware of his presence (a narcissistic countertransference resistance). Perhaps Phillips clarifies why we resist seeing that the seemingly higher functioning patient may also be alone in the room. The analyst wants to be engaged in an emotional relationship but the patient on the couch returns to a narcissistic stage of life, where there are no “people,” only shadowy impressions of the images the mind has not yet separated into ego and object.

The patient is alone in the room. Narcissus is alone at the pool, speaking to the object/ego field reflected in the water. Like Narcissus, the narcissistic patient is talking to part of his mind.


Phillips, A. (2001). Narcissism, for and against. In One way and another: New and selected

            essays (pp.129-153). NY: Basic Books.

Semel, V. Understanding the fieldwork experience: How do we know when students “get it”

about narcissism? Modern Psychoanalysis, 9(2), 193-214.

Spotnitz, H. (1985). Modern psychoanalysis of the schizophrenic patient (2nd ed.). NY: Human

Sciences Press.

Teaching Vets to Treat Vets by Moe Freedman, ACAP Trustee

Morris Freedman, PhD, is a Past-President and current Member of ACAP’s Board of Trustees. He serves on the Fundraising Committee and has worked tirelessly to secure access to ACAP’s academic and training programs for military veterans.

Dr. Freedman speaks: By the time I returned from Okinawa in 1953, an armistice was in place ending the Korean War. I was happy to return to civilian life.  The joy of being home was diminished, however, by a feeling of disorientation and discomfort.  It took some time to feel more balanced among friends and family.  Those feelings were evident despite the fact that I had not actually been in active combat and I was probably experiencing normal reactions to a return to the routines of civilian life.  Consider how this disorientation would be compounded for combat veterans who witnessed horrific casualties and destruction.  Understandably, so many GI’s return tormented by their experiences and unable to adjust to family life and work. I am in retirement now, and a volunteer at a mental health resource center. I have discovered the efficacy of psychoanalytic treatment from case histories that have been discussed, and I have learned how people are prepared for careers in mental health.  I want veterans to know, not only how they can receive professional treatment, but to also consider becoming trained in treating other vets.

 Veterans who qualify for the benefits of the Post-9/11 GI Bill and who have a bachelor’s degree are eligible to enroll in a graduate degree program in psychoanalysis.  The Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis–NJ (BGSP-NJ) offers a Masters in Psychoanalysis and a Masters in Mental Health Counseling.  One-year programs of study are also offered for those who want to explore careers in mental health.  All course fees are covered by the Veterans Administration.  BGSP-NJ recognizes that combat veterans seeking treatment are more likely to relate to a professional who has also experienced war-time service.  BGSP-NJ teaches vets to treat vets.  Veterans who would like to find out more about careers in mental health are welcome to enroll in individual courses.  Through our North Jersey Consultation Center (NJCC), a veteran or their family members may receive individual counseling while enrolled as a student or as a non-student.  Family members of veterans, who are eligible under the Post 9/11 GI Bill, are invited to enroll in our master’s degree programs as well.  Courses are offered weekday evenings to accommodate our students who work full-time.  Our staff of professional psychoanalysts has had extensive training and experience in preparing students as psychoanalysts and in treating mental health concerns.  Veterans who live too far away to attend classes in Livingston, New Jersey, may participate in our distance learning program using online video conferencing technology.  BGSP-NJ would be pleased to design coursework schedules around your personal needs. In this regard we can arrange a meeting to discuss how you may best help you reach your goals.

 BGSP is nationally recognized as one of the foremost psychoanalytic training institutions and is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.   BGSP-NJ is a non-profit school and treatment center at 301 South Livingston Avenue, Livingston, New Jersey, 07039.

ACAP Graduates are Gentle, Fierce, and Lively by Executive Director Vicki Semel

I was so moved by our ACAP graduation on October 18 and therefore I doubly rejoiced in the recent New York Times articles on the work we are so proud of doing. ( and

Working with schizophrenics and borderline patients, along with all the other vulnerable populations we respect and serve, is the heart of modern psychoanalytic training and the foundation of students’ progress toward graduation.. What characterizes the experience of modern psychoanalysis? I believe modern analytic training is characterized by gentleness, fierceness, and liveliness.


There is a gentleness in the work as we protect the defenses of the patient and student. Therapists are taught to provide no sharp edges to the patient but to allow the patient to experience the therapist as a mirror or as part of the self or even as not there and as if alone in the room. This gentleness can also be a quiet period as the therapist learns to follow the contact function (which involves following the lead of the patient, not directing, but consulting the patient).


What is the fierceness we see? This occurs when the therapist is taught to intervene and to enjoy the aggression of the patient as well as their own energy and aggression. To echo the importance of expressing feelings often turned against the self, the faculty encourage the student’s perceptions and join them in an accepting and curious way. If the patient sees himself as inadequate or hopeless, the therapist is encouraged to accept this view and become curious about this stance. In parallel fashion, if criticized by the student, teachers are curious about how they had a bad effect and failed the student.

There is a fierceness in allowing the patient and student to experience negative feelings about the self and toward others. While reading the fascinating article by Bollas, I wondered if the positive comments he made about the patient’s functioning did not set off her regression. Fiercely allowing the patient’s negative perceptions while building ego strength requires a brave commitment to uncomfortable feelings in oneself and others. By the way, these feelings can be grandiosely positive as well as negative. Students learn to fiercely welcome all emotions no matter how uncomfortable or outrageous.


And now for liveliness. I think what helps prevent burnout in the work we do is that there is fun and a lightness about the most serious of topics. One can discuss aggressive fantasies or wishes for murderous activities with a humorous shape and tone. Walk past ACAP/BGSP-NJ classes in Livingston, New Jersey, and hear laughter and fun. The ability to turn discomfort into acceptance of one’s difficult feelings and thoughts creates a liveliness in our endeavor.

We like to think of the ripple effect of our educational experience. If we teachers and supervisors are doing our jobs properly, not only is the student maturing and developing better ways to work with patients, they are learning to help their students or bosses, even teenagers and spouses.

As teachers at ACAP, we have spent decades treating and training clinicians to help our more seriously mentally ill patients and their families. That the ACAP community celebration of our graduates occurred while the New York Times presented accounts in recognition of the commitment to treat and even “cure” the severely mentally ill seems a fitting reward for our commitment to our mission and a way to honor our students.

I am delighted and moved by our graduates’ achievement and by how the media conspired to celebrate their creative learning by showing that the more seriously disturbed patients could be helped to develop productive coping styles and can benefit from the gentleness, fierceness and liveliness of a well-trained modern psychoanalyst.


The Deeply Frightening Symptom That Finally Convinced Me To Get Help

It is 7:40 am. I wake up five minutes before my alarm clock, feeling generally well-rested. I have two cups of coffee, read the news, and check my email. I start working at 8:30, and at 9 a reminder pops up on my phone. It reads: Take medicine and meditate. Most days, I’ve already done these things. But it’s important enough that I keep the reminder, because I know what forgetting can do to me. I know what it can do to the people I love.

Two years ago, when I was off my medication, this kind of morning would have been unimaginable. I now have a routine. A stable, productive, healthy routine. Sometimes I look at myself and wonder who I have become.

Eight years ago, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I was 20, halfway through college, and I had suspected for years that something about my mind was very different from my peers’ — my behavior more reckless, my moods more unpredictable, my sleeping and eating patterns more irregular. Read More>>

ACAP’s Distance Learning Option by ACAP Graduate and Seattle Resident, Beverly Bell

One of the lesser known facts about ACAP is that analytic training is available to people who do not live in ACAP’s immediate geographic area.  I live in Washington State and completed the entire course from there, graduating in October, 2015.  I was the first to complete analytic training in this manner at ACAP but most likely I will not be the last as other distance students will be graduating soon.

Most students at ACAP live no further than 30 miles from the campus, while I am living thousands of miles away.  So, the model of distance training in psychoanalysis seemed atypical, indeed.  I want to share a little bit about my experience and illustrate how it is possible to become a psychoanalyst and bridge the distance gap.

First of all, how does one even find an institute that offers distance training?  In the 21st century all casual research seems to begin with a Google search and in this way I found a website for a psychoanalytic training institute in New Jersey that boasted distance learning.  After a brief interview and participation in one of ACAP’s summer conferences, I was hooked and I decided to enroll.

At the first ACAP conference I attended, I learned about the unique style of teaching that essentially models analytic methods.  Because this model is based on emotions and feelings, it was inherently satisfying to be at the conference and in workshops.  I could hardly wait to start my first official class.  While this type of training does not follow a mainstream educational pedagogy, for me it was educational and effective.  Class readings were related to the topic and the syllabus reflected a certain frame but the actual time in class was spent in whatever meandering free associations that a group of students could conjure.  Personal reflection in the form of class logs submitted to the instructor necessitated a recapture of the class in the mind of the student and with it, the associations to the readings.  Sometimes it seemed helter-skelter, but it worked.  Of course papers were required, and with those, a further opportunity for synthesis of knowledge and evolving emotional congruence.

My first classes were just over the phone with speaker phone technology but this was quickly eclipsed by video conferencing with better and better high speed and high resolution connections.  When I started I could only hear the class; by the time I graduated, I could see them and they could see me.  However even in the beginning and probably because of the skill of the analysts who were the instructors, I found a way to feel part of the class and felt like I had a presence and an impact.  Nowadays, if someone wanted to train as a modern psychoanalyst through ACAP it would be already in the video conferencing medium – see and be seen, just like real life.

Besides the classes this training has two practicum components that had to be negotiated from a distance.  The first is an externship where a student learns to understand the concept of emotional communication with a chronically mentally ill patient.  The second practicum consists of working with several ambulatory patients under clinical supervision with two supervisors.  One of the patients becomes the subject of an extensive treatise that is the exploration of a clinical question around motivation and psychic structure.  I did it all successfully from nearly 3000 miles away!

I began psychoanalytic training and graduate work in psychology at the same time. While getting my masters’ degree in psychology, I became connected to a large mental health center that also had residential treatment.  The staff there were quite welcoming to have me come and spend several hours a week with some of their residents.  What a fantastic experience to apprehend the inner emotional state of people locked in their mind.  Once through that training and by then also becoming a licensed mental health counselor, I began a part-time private practice and began to meet with some patients that served as my clinical training patients.

Throughout the training, the truth of the aphorism, “life is a journey – not a destination” became evident.  As such, it is an odd feeling to have arrived at my destination. The program was full of challenges and satisfactions and the results are that I now feel very rewarded by the whole experience. I have a rich view of the human condition and a sense of my own capacity for emotional growth. ACAP’s distance learning option is an excellent opportunity for anyone interested in psychoanalytic training who may not live near a training institute.

Couples in Crisis – Is it Possible to Heal a Marriage after an Affair? by ACAP Director of Curriculum Annette Vaccaro

Being in a relationship can be at once one of the most fulfilling and one of the most difficult experiences. Typical challenges experienced in a relationship can range from frustration over lack of cooperation, to the trauma of learning one’s partner has had an affair. According to researchers Kristina, Baucom, and Snyder (2004), 40% of men and 20% of women who are married will have an extramarital affair over the course of a marriage. For therapists and couples, affairs are among the most damaging and difficult problems to address. What works in addressing this experience in couples therapy? Affairs evoke feelings of betrayal — healing from them requires a level of maturity and forgiveness that may or may not be possible for an individual or a couple.  For some couples, not revealing the affair is a way of protecting the marriage; for others, not talking about an affair creates a serious block to intimacy and commitment.  Viewing the affair as an expression of conflict can start the conversation.

There is hope for working through the transgression of an affair (Kristina, Baucom, and Snyder, 2004).  Viewing the affair as a personal trauma and working toward healing the trauma for each member of the couple can support progress. One model (Dristina, Baucom and Snyder, 2004) describes three phases of the work. Phase one is to deal with the impact of the affair and its result on the marriage and family. It is important to set up a plan to commit to meeting to talk regularly.  Phase two involves exploring the context of the affair and finding meaning. The couple examines vulnerabilities to understand the situation more fully.  They explore the characteristic responses that led to the affair and discuss the details and the dynamics of the event.  In Phase three, the couple moves on. They discuss any leftover questions and identify their fears.

Phases in therapy may happen sequentially or not. Each couple finds their own way to discuss their experience and may need to veer off to talk about other topics as part of healing. Accidental or purposeful disclosure of indiscretions is traumatic in itself and therapeutic intervention can provide a cushion.

Accepting the good enough quality of a relationship is part of what makes couples resilient. But what happens when only one member of the couple wants to remain together?  That person is encouraged to come in first and the other member may or may not follow.  Some couples find individual therapy helpful in preparing them for challenging work of talking and listening in joint sessions.  Talking and listening seems so simple but can lead to significant changes. Keep talking! For more about this and other topics on making a resilient marriage, come to ACAP’s talk:  Couples in Crisis on Sunday, March 20 from 1-3pm with Annette Vaccaro and Maurice Lovell.

Reference Kristina, C. G., Baucom, D. H., & Snyder, D. K. (2004). An Integrative intervention for  promoting recovery from extramarital affairs.  Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 30(2), 213-31.

How to Become a Psychotherapist: 5 Natural Steps by ACAP Dean of Students, Lisa Piemont

Many of us first begin to imagine ourselves becoming a psychotherapist while discussing our life and our difficulties with our own therapist. Receiving the benefits of therapy, we think, “I would like to offer this kind of help to others.” Or, we have a wish to understand the “secrets” of how to help others in a meaningful way. Looking up to our therapist and feeling grateful, it seems he or she has powers we could only dream of. Any yet…the therapist is simply human, right? We might ask, “Can’t I, too, learn to listen and speak in ways that benefit others?” The first and second answers to the question, “How can I become a therapist?” are already clear.

First, we need to have our own therapy so that we can be objective when listening to others.

Second, we need to understand that all it takes to become a therapist is a willingness to be fully human, to experience all of our thoughts and emotions with equanimity during sessions with our patients and everywhere else, too.

The third step in becoming a psychotherapist is learning skillful methods. The growing edge of learning to become a therapist is the development of skills and the practicing of various methods of using our own humanity to benefit others whose in-born nature may be blocked, over-expressed, or misdirected.

The fourth step is that we must cultivate patience. Patience is not only a virtue, it is an essential quality in the practice of psychotherapy. We must not pressure anyone to move faster, learn more, or feel better in any way before they become naturally ready for change. Patience rests in our understanding that no matter how much a person is suffering, often they seem to choose more suffering over change.

Change is very difficult. It requires extensive exploration and continuous support. Change requires us to accept that remaining the same is an option. It is interesting that the permission to remain the same is often the very thing people need to receive in order to overcome fear and make the changes that improve their lives. We can think about change as an organic process as well. We plant the seeds of growth by offering the space, time and attention of the therapy session. For a while, it seems like nothing is happening. But by “watering” the situation weekly with our attention and keeping the emotional temperature of the experience optimal, it is possible to see the shoots of growth emerge from the soil of the therapeutic relationship. This occurs because we have combined the elements – time, space and attention — that promote growth and help people change the patterns in their lives that cause suffering. The fifth step in becoming a psychotherapist is to join a community of like-minded souls. Others who share this life path will support and challenge you and become resources as you near your goal and eventually take your seat as a human primed to benefit others emotionally and psychologically, no matter their condition and because you have worked on yours.

At ACAP, at the Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis (BGSP –, and at the Center for Modern Psychoanalytic Studies (CMPS –, there are many opportunities to explore the pathways to becoming a psychotherapist, to feel supported, and to understand the dynamics of human potential. Join us now and begin to fulfill your dream of becoming a psychotherapist today.

Good Luck: My Journey from Early Childhood Educator to Modern Psychoanalyst by ACAP Student Susan Saunders

I have always felt very lucky in certain ways as an adult. I graduated from college with a degree in Early Childhood Education. In college I had studied a little psychology about children: we read Piaget and I carried out a few of his simple experiments with some children. It was fascinating! Now: fast forward to my very first professional teaching job at a small private nursery school in Manhattan. I was straight out of college and had no idea what to do with a group of 10 or so 4 year olds. I was filled with apprehension and I had many questions.

I was lucky that the school in which I happened to land a teaching job studied children and worked to resolve their intellectual and emotional resistances to learning and to cooperation. I had the good fortune to begin my teaching career in a school that applied modern psychoanalytic concepts to teaching children. The director and her husband were students of modern psychoanalysis. The teachers and the directors met in a weekly group for over an hour each week, talking and learning to understand the children. We talked about the children’s resistances and learned some modern psychoanalytic techniques to help them mature. Even more importantly, however, we learned about our own resistances to working effectively with the children. The children evoked many feelings in us as we worked with them. One of the methods we use in modern psychoanalysis is to learn to experience the feelings the children brought up in us, and then to study how the feelings informed our interactions with the children. This kind of emotional study helps to determine where these feelings are originating. I learned to ask myself, “Is what I am feeling really something that the child is feeling? Are my feelings being triggered by the child and also bringing up my own issues? Are these feelings a combination of both the children’s feelings and my own past experiences and feelings?” I quickly realized how valuable it was to learn about contagious feelings in working with children! Once I learned to establish what I was feeling and why, I learned to use my feelings to resolve a resistance in a child, facilitating the child’s progress to the next maturational level of development.

One of the ways in which I used my new-found understanding of these concepts was to meet with the children in a group each morning. We sat in a semi-circle on the floor and we sang (I played the guitar). Then they each took a turn to talk. I encouraged them to talk about whatever they wished. Their talking was also encouraged throughout the day. By the end of the year, the children in my group developed an ability to put all their feelings into words rather than into action. They developed the capacity to learn to talk about and to resolve many of their conflicts and difficulties with one another. Some of the children who were less mature in their ability to verbalize were eventually able to talk in a more mature fashion, decreasing destructive acting out. It was gratifying to see this growth in the children. Here is one example of how I used my modern psychoanalytic training. A four year-old boy who was shy and introverted in the beginning of the school year became very angry at times, acting out physically by hitting other children. He was limited in his ability to know what he was feeling and to put his feelings into words. I worked on setting limits on his behavior, simultaneously supporting him by telling him that it was okay to be angry, but he wasn’t allowed to hit. I helped him to verbalize all of his feelings, especially anger. Eventually with lots of repetition of these directives, he was able to improve his self-control and his ability to verbalize thoughts and feelings, becoming happier with himself. This progress led to an increasing ability to make friends, and to fully cooperate in the group.

Because I began my professional career at this unique school, I developed an interest in further studies in modern psychoanalysis. I began studying at the Center for Modern Psychoanalysis (, and eventually in New Jersey at The Academy for Clinical and Applied Psychoanalysis ( As I studied psychoanalysis, my ability to work with children improved. Ultimately I decided to go back to graduate school full-time in order to get my degree and to continue my studies to become a psychoanalyst. I was lucky to start out my professional career in such a supportive and thoughtful community that embraced a philosophy that has helped me to continue to grow personally and professionally throughout my life.

The Narcissistic Repetition Compulsion: Thoughts on a Greek Tragedy and it’s Cure by Dean of Research, Demetria De Lia.

I, myself, in the transports

Of mystic verses, as in study

Of history and science, have found nothing

so strong as Compulsion,

Nor any means to combat her.  

Euripides Alcestis, lines 962-965.


One of the (many) things most interesting to me about Greek myths, often lacking in other literary genres, is the genealogy of families, genograms that symbolically suggest that the repetition compulsion is transgenerational. Laius tried to kill his infant son Oedipus, and Oedipus killed Laius, and on and on it goes. Our patients, like characters in Greek tragedies, not only repeat the trauma of their own lives, but also the inherited traumas, conscious or not, of their parents and ancestors.

I wonder why this transgenerational induction to repeat is so powerful. Freud told us that the repetition compulsion is part of the death instinct, and so it appears, that the repetition compulsion is connected to that other death instinct derivative, narcissism. Narcissism in a most basic definition is the wish that everyone thinks and feels exactly as we do, and this is the power of the narcissistic transference. When a child is induced to repeat the parent’s trauma, the unspoken message is “be like me, live like me, feel like me, act like me and suffer like me.” Misery loves company. But the child has no way of defending himself against the powerful gods that live with him and within him. In Psychoanalysis and the Unconscious, D.H. Lawrence writes that a nonverbal induction is like “a lovely, suave, fluid creative electricity that flows in a circuit between nerve centers in mother and child.” Electricity flows silently as does the death instinct. What does the child suffer if he consciously rejects the parent’s implicit demands? He may feel that he has killed someone he loves, and now suffers the guilt, like Oedipus, of being a murderer (oh, those myths just won’t leave me alone). Preoedipal murderers don’t feel guilt but the oedipal type accept responsibility for their impulses.

Preoedipal murder brings to mind Narcissus who turned Echo into stone and then killed himself. The narcissistic parent who induces her child to repeat the family’s trauma isolates the child from a new experience in living that could involve making attachments to a different way of life. The child’s individuation is experienced by the parent as an abandonment, and because the parent is narcissistic (preoedipal), abandonment feels like death. The death instinct destroys connection to anything life affirming as the parent sacrifices the child’s progress to ensure that the family repetition is inherited by the next generation. In this way the narcissistic parent commits symbolic murder and incest (also a death instinct derivative), inducing the child to be a narcissistic twin, to reproduce the parent’s pain, to live in isolation of the broader world, and to align herself with the repetition compulsion of their shared inheritance.

The repetition compulsion in my own family is a very long story. My grandmother, her invalid mother and three brothers were forced to leave their village in the mountains of Turkey. Only my grandmother survived the journey on foot, boiling edible plants to sustain her. Finally arriving in America, she was a stranger in a strange land, not speaking the language, suffering what I would now call PTSD. My Mother grew up as a parentified child, and this repetition was passed down to the next generation. In our family, children at a young age were expected to take care of their parents. This role reversal had many pathological outcomes.

What choice does the child have? Kill your desires or kill theirs, repeat the familiar pattern, sacrificing your own wish to walk in a different path or abandon the parents and suffer the guilt trip. The child looks at the mirror of his narcissistic mother’s face and sees only her reflection, not his own; here is the birth of narcissistic rage in the child, and on and on it goes.. In the freedom of the psychoanalytic experience, the psychoanalyst gives the child a reflection of her own image and the patient finds an adult who is there to take care of her! What a novel idea! What a liberating experience !

Can there be a greater blessing than when the cords

Of care are snapt, and the mind lets slip its burden- when

spent with toil in far-off places, we come to our home

sanctuary and find rest on the long-dreamed of couch?

Catullus, 56 BC