Tuesday, October 1st, 2002, 8:00 PM

The Thrall of the Negative and How to Analyze It

author: Stanley Coen, M.D.,
discussant: Eric Marcus, M.D.

From extensive clinical material of patient and analyst caught up in negativistic transference/countertransference enmeshment, defensive functions of negativism are explored for both patient and analyst. Excitement, control, omnipotence, and intense defense against human need are emphasized. Fascination with and dread of the negative intersect as patients struggle to avoid terrifying aspects of self and other. André Green's work on the negative is critiqued. The analyst has to work to extricate himself from being trapped in negativism within the dyad. He needs to contain, metabolize, and transform their mutual destructiveness and mutual love, so as to enable himself and his patient to feel safer with both. Then he can try to engage his patient to play with his destructive negativism and with his dangerous love. How to play with the negative will be described.