Eugene Onegin

Israel Conductor Omer Meir Wellber


Therapy Session: July 17, 2018 — The Blow up session

(previous week (July 10) — had given therapist affidavit about Akin Gump perjury and social security disability fraud.)

didn’t write letter. thought about writing, wrote notes, but didn’t write. let’s talk about what troubled me.

start off talking about first session: I was reading there are three different insecure attachment styles  . . .    A dismissive person would never mention loneliness.

I discuss the fact that the avoidant attachment is the equivalent of the introjective personality in Blatt’s system

fish dolphin — dolphin coming up for air. why would a fish do that? You see me as a fish, but I’m a dolphin. Then you wonder why I surface for air. Fish don’t do that. But I’m not a fish!!

walking well — dismissives not taken seriously.

discussed automatic responses:  “You know I was thinking that maybe what you see in other clients is an automatic response, like wanting your feedback, wanting to have a relatiohnship with you, wanting to relinquish their identity.  And you think I’m not a cooperative patient because I don’t do those things.  You think other people’s responses are a result of volitional acts, as if they have made a conscious decision to be a “good patient.”  But in many cases it’s not a volitional act.  People are not cooperating with therapy.  They simply have a personality style in which they have an automatic response.  It’s like what happens in groups. People bonding in groups is not a volitional act at a psychological level — if you put people together they bond in a group automatically out of psychological needs. The failure to bond in a group is a result of psychological processes that are not volitional.

With me — it’s not that I am uncooperative or thwarting you, it’s not volitional or conscious, it’s simply the absence of an “automatic response.” You seem to think if I don’t have a relationship with you I am doing that. I’m not doing anything. It’s not a matter of doing anything. Trust is something that emerges. It’s based on feelings that emerge or don’t emerge.

You are dealing with automatic responses and you’re moralizing about automatic responses or the lack of automatic responses in me, but you can’t moralize about that because in either case these are not volitional acts that can be controlled by the patient.

You impute control to me all the time as if I have control over things.  I have control over my behavior, but I don’t have control over my feelings. Writing letters is a behavior. I can control that. I can make a conscious decision to stop writing letters. But I have no control over the underlying feelings — feelings of confusion, the sense that you say things that don’t make sense to me, the feeling of being overwhelmed by you. I will continue to have those feelings whether or not I write letters. [proceed to give examples over all the feelings about which I have no control.]

square peg — round hole. “It’s like you’re trying to shove a square peg into a round hole and I’m the round hole.” (Note my self-concept as a receptacle–like an infant who feels his mother is forcing her nipple in his mouth.” Kleinian reference.

first session; loneliness and fear of rejection — sense of alienation — a dismissive wouldn’t complain about a fear of alienation. “You don’t seem to know about the basic attachment styles.”

mother died — unaffected emotionally

“I don’t mean to denigrate you but you are obsessed with relationships.”

not interested in relationship (emotionally corrective experience) interested in imaging of therapist. (Apparently confuses the therapist– whose only notion of a therapy relationship is mother-child relationship of caring and nurturing. Has no concept of transference.” “We need to look at what role I have assigned you. That’s what’s important. Not the emotionally corrective experience.”

dr. palombo never talked about relationships. SRP concerned with how I imaged relationships. not in the actual relationship. amsterdam “you don’t have to have friends.”

reported on literature that said analysis or psycho-dynamic therapy is treatment of choice.

therapist: how do you feel about being seen as different by people. “I have mixed feelings about that. I feel I need mirroring, somebody who is like me.  So being different impairs my ability to relate to most people.  But I get an ego boost about being different — radio America wine and cheese. legal assistant. AU wine and cheese. But then supervisor said I was homicidal — different in a bad way.

end of 20 minute soliloquy by patient:

Therapist’s first response:

why do you come to therapy? (first response of therapist was to ask question — gave no feedback on themes of self-sufficiency, autonomy, dismissive attachment style. said absolutely nothing about the important anecdote about my mother’s death. Remarkable!!). The real question is why did she accept me into therapy when I said I was introjective and dismissive?

possible psychological issue with therapist: problem with “being alone in the presence of mother?”

I want somebody to talk to (wagner/freud henchman) analyzable issue. See passage in Significant Moments:

Even as a boy of seventeen, he was looking for a companion ‘to whom I could pour out my inmost being to my heart’s content, without my caring what the effect might be on him.’
Anthony Storr, Feet of Clay—Saints, Sinners, and Madmen: A Study of Gurus quoting Richard Wagner.
Could it be in reality he had had no friend at all, possessed no share in someone else’s life? He had had a companion, a listener, a yes-man, a henchman, and no more!
Hermann Hesse, Tales of Student Life.
The intensity with which . . .
Phyllis Grosskurth, The Secret Ring: Freud’s Inner Circle and the Politics of Psychoanalysis.
. . . later in life . . .
Charles Darwin, Origin of Species.
. . . he entered into his largely epistolary friendship with Wilhelm Fliess must have been a reflection of his disappointment with reality and his need to seek an idealized friend who existed only as a projection of his own needs. For Freud the ideal friend had to be an extension of himself.
Phyllis Grosskurth, The Secret Ring: Freud’s Inner Circle and the Politics of Psychoanalysis.

therapist erupted in anger; why don’t you just talk to a wall. you don’t need a therapist. you might as well just talk to a wall. ” I need to give feed back!” (Who’s stopping you lady?) (but her first response was not feedback; it was a question!). “Even dynamic therapy focuses on the relationship. You say you don’t want a relationship with me, but at other times you talk about having a relationship with me.” “You don’t seem to know what you want.” (projection–instead of writing letter, talk — does she know what she wants?)

questions why I am seeing her at all. note her response was like a borderline (“Why are you in therapy?”). “You hurt my feelings. Leave! I hate you! I never want to see you again.” And not: “let’s talk about your feelings about therapy. let’s talk about your feelings about me.”

“No other therapist would stand for this. I won’t react angrily because that wouldn’t establish trust.” (She is superior to other therapists.)

therapist response of rage–humiliation–indignation. (As if she were thinking, “How dare you say this about me?”) Assault on her idealized self-concept as nurturing, empathic, caring. I questioned her role of mother who feeds infant. As if, “you won’t accept my breast. you have a duty to accept my breast. I feed you. You don’t feed me. You are the infant. Infants don’t feed the mother. Patients don’t lecture the therapist on her technique — I will not allow you to force your nipple into me!” (Does she see my as both the bad mother/bad child fused imago?)

“Are you saying I am a difficult patient? Dr. Palombo said . . .” (sparked her envy)

(cuts me off angrily). I am not saying you are a difficult patient.

end of session

emergence of depressive anxiety by therapist. (undoing) kindly gesture. “It’s raining. You can wait here for a while till the rain stops.” — “No I have an umbrella.” “I want you have a nice vacation.”


Note how the therapist totally missed the schizoid conflicts relating to “feeding” and the “intrusive nipple” :

I have heard a number of schizoid individuals describe their mothers as both cold and intrusive. For the mother, the coldness may be experienced as coming from the baby. Several self-diagnosed schizoid people have told me their mothers said that they rejected the breast as newborns or complained that when they were held and cuddled, they pulled away as if overstimulated. A friend confided to me that his internal metaphor for nursing is “colonization,” a term that conjures up the exploitation of the innocent by the intrusive imperial power. Related to this image is the pervasive concern with poisoning, bad milk, and toxic nourishment that commonly characterizes schizoid individuals. One of my more schizoid friends once asked me as we were having lunch in a diner, “What is it about straws? Why do people like to drink through straws?” “You get to suck,” I suggested. “Yucch!” she shuddered.

–Nancy McWilliams, Some Thoughts about Schizoid Dynamics.

Basically, the therapist is moralizing about my disorder. She basically is saying I am a bad patient because I don’t accept her feedback. A competent therapist would ask, “What does my feedback mean to you? Do you associate “feedback” with feeding in any way?” SHE IS FREAKING INCOMPETENT, DAVID!!!

Note also the hints of dynamics relating to my perception of the intrusive mother and the absent idealized other as a defense against the intrusive mother:

“Subject’s object hunger, his idealizing merger needs are fixations on archaic pre-oedipal forms deriving from deficits emerging out of his relationship with an engulfing mother who used subject for her own selfobject needs and in his frustrating relationship with a father unavailable for idealization. Cowan, J. “Blutbruderschaft and Self Psychology in D.H. Lawrence’s Women in Love in Self and Sexuality” (2002). Subject’s idealization of males is a defense against being swallowed up by a woman. See Shengold, L. Soul Murder: The Effects of Childhood Deprivation and Abuse (see especially the chapter, “The Parent as Sphinx”). Subject’s psychology parallels Kohut’s analysand Mr. U who, turning away from the unreliable empathy of his mother, tried to gain confirmation of his self through an idealizing relationship with his father. The self absorbed father, however, unable to respond appropriately, rebuffed his son’s attempt to be close to him, depriving him of the needed merger with the idealized self-object and, hence, of the opportunity for gradually recognizing the self-object’s shortcomings. Cowan, Self and Sexuality at 59 quoting Kohut.”

I Finally Nailed Down My Therapist’s Problem!!



I have come to see, based on my recent reading, that my therapist has what is called in attachment work, a “preoccupied attachment style.” It’s a form of insecure attachment. Attachment theorists describe three insecure attachment styles: fearful avoidant (the classically shy person); preoccupied attachment (people who are obsessed with relating to people); and the dismissive avoidant (people who are dismissive of relationships and have a defensive ideal of independence and self-sufficiency). I have a dismissive-avoidant style. You can see how it is pure torture for me to be in therapy with someone who has a preoccupied attachment style.

Fearful Avoidant (the classically shy person): People with losses or other trauma, such as sexual abuse in childhood and adolescence may often develop this type of attachment and tend to agree with the following statements: “I am somewhat uncomfortable getting close to others. I want emotionally close relationships, but I find it difficult to trust others completely, or to depend on them. I sometimes worry that I will be hurt if I allow myself to become too close to other people.” On the other hand, they tend to feel uncomfortable with emotional closeness. These mixed feelings are combined with sometimes unconscious, negative views about themselves and their attachments. They commonly view themselves as unworthy of responsiveness from their attachments, and they don’t trust the intentions of their attachments. Similar to the dismissive-avoidant attachment style, people with a fearful-avoidant attachment style seek less intimacy from attachments and frequently suppress and deny their feelings. Because of this, they are much less comfortable expressing affection.

Dismissive Avoidant (I am a dismissive — this style corresponds to the introjective personality style described by Blatt, i.e., people concerned with identity, self-definition, self-critical persons who struggle with unconscious guilt, persons whose presentation in therapy shows a preoccupation with the meaning of things): People with a dismissive style of avoidant attachment tend to agree with these statements: “I am comfortable without close emotional relationships”, “It is important to me to feel independent and self-sufficient”, and “I prefer not to depend on others or have others depend on me.” People with this attachment style desire a high level of independence. The desire for independence often appears as an attempt to avoid attachment altogether. They view themselves as self-sufficient and invulnerable to feelings associated with being closely attached to others. They often deny needing close relationships. Some may even view close relationships as relatively unimportant. Not surprisingly, they seek less intimacy with attachments, whom they often view less positively than they view themselves. Investigators commonly note the defensive character of this attachment style. People with a dismissive-avoidant attachment style tend to suppress and hide their feelings, and they tend to deal with rejection by distancing themselves from the sources of rejection (e.g. their attachments or relationships).

Preocupied Attachment (This is my therapist. These are persons obsessed with attachments): People with anxious-preoccupied attachment type tend to agree with the following statements: “I want to be completely emotionally intimate with others, but I often find that others are reluctant to get as close as I would like” [This patient just doesn’t want to get close to me”], and “I am uncomfortable being without close relationships [“I am uncomfortable with patients who don’t want to be emotionally close to me”], but I sometimes worry that others don’t value me as much as I value them [“This patient criticizes me. He doesn’t value me. I can’t deal with negative transference.”]” People with this style of attachment seek high levels of intimacy, approval, and responsiveness from their attachment figure. They sometimes value intimacy to such an extent that they become overly dependent on the attachment figure. Compared with securely attached people, people who are anxious or preoccupied with attachment tend to have less positive views about themselves [Note how insecure she is about my letters. If she really felt good about herself she could deal with my letters]. They may feel a sense of anxiousness that only recedes when in contact with the attachment figure. They often doubt their worth as a person and blame themselves for the attachment figure’s lack of responsiveness [“This patient does not respond to me. I need him to respond to me emotionally”]. People who are anxious or preoccupied with attachment may exhibit high levels of emotional expressiveness, emotional dysregulation [note how she flips out with me, “No other therapist would sit for this!!” “You think you are always right?” “You think you’re smarter than everybody else”], worry, and impulsiveness in their relationships [she has a notably labile quality with me; her mood seems to shift from week to week].

What clued me into this was something I recently read about preoccupied attachment. These persons are “compulsive caregivers.” My therapist’s idealized self image clusters around her sense of herself as empathic, caring, and nurturing. She doesn’t see herself or her role as promoting insight in the patient. She has talked about her role as providing an “emotionally corrective experience.” I am reminded of the Soviet State. “Our role is to provide for you. We give you free housing, free education, free everything. You simply have to give up any claim to independence, free will, and freedom expression. Our role is not to protect a right to self-expression or “pursuit of happiness.” Our role is to secure your basic needs–nothing else.”

This also fits in with Dabrowski’s theories:

The first level, unilevelness (or primary integration or primitive integration) represents a lack of authentic personality development. One’s personality is based on only 2 factors, biological and environmental drives (the environmental being comprised mainly familial and social) , at this level. Personality is imposed by influences outside of the individual.

Dabrowski said, “A primitively integrated individual spends his life in the pursuit of satisfying his basic needs. He is controlled by the integrated structure of his instincts, and his intelligence is in their service. He responds to social influence only as a measure of self-preservation. There are no internal conflicts [“Psychoanalysis is worthless.”]. Mental disorders are characterized by lack of response to social influence [“attachments”], i.e. other individuals are perceived and used as objects.”

Usually, it is only those who exhibit a 3rd factor who will rise above these drives to emerge beyond this 1st phase of development (which really is defined by a lack of individual personality development). Dabrowski said of the 3rd factor that it “represents the autonomous forces of self-directed development. In this sense the term ‘third factor’ is used to denote the totality of the autonomous forces. In a stricter sense of a dynamism the third factor is the agent of conscious choice in development. The third factor assumes gradually an essential part in human destiny and becomes the dominant dynamism of multilevel disintegration. It is a dynamism that coordinates the inner psychic milieu.”

Dąbrowski also described a group of people who display a different course: an individualized developmental pathway. These people break away from an automatic, rote, socialized view of life (which Dąbrowski called negative adjustment) and move into and through a series of personal disintegrations. Dąbrowski saw these disintegrations as a key element in the overall developmental process. Crises challenge our status quo and cause us to review our self, ideas, values, thoughts, ideals, etc. If development continues, one goes on to develop an individualized, conscious and critically evaluated hierarchical value structure (called positive adjustment). This hierarchy of values acts as a benchmark by which all things are now seen, and the higher values in our internal hierarchy come to direct our behavior (no longer based on external social mores). These higher, individual values characterize an eventual second integration reflecting individual autonomy and for Dąbrowski, mark the arrival of true human personality. At this level, each person develops his or her own vision of how life ought to be and lives it. This higher level is associated with strong individual approaches to problem solving and creativity. One’s talents and creativity are applied in the service of these higher individual values and visions of how life could be—how the world ought to be. The person expresses his or her “new” autonomous personality energetically through action, art, social change and so on.

Here’s what I read about preoccupied attachment:

Tentative Thoughts about My Therapist


I had the thought that my therapist’s model of treatment is not a psychotherapy model.  It is something else.  The model she employs is based on the relationships found in cults.  Her dyadic therapy relationships are in practice based on a model that views the therapist as cult leader and the patient is the cult follower.

This notion finds support in the work of Daniel Shaw who describes some therapy relationships as “cult-like” — a cult of two.

Shaw’s analysis of the traumatic assault on subjectivity in cults lays the foundation for his approach to the problem of the origins and perpetuation of social oppression and injustice. Shaw aligns himself explicitly with Eric Fromm’s work on the “escape from freedom,” a social psychological process in authoritarian and democratic regimes alike in which individuals are induced to sacrifice their autonomy and subjectivity. Fromm explored, “both the mind and motives of the traumatizing . . . narcissist [leader] as well as . . . the individual who escapes from freedom by idealizing and submitting to infantilizing, controlling others” (p. 56).

In the cult, the leader infantilizes the followers:

–The follower is denuded of personal identity;

–The follower is a purely a receptacle for the leader;

–The follower’s only task is to imbibe the dogma of the leader;

–Happiness is membership in the cult based on a relationship of subjugation; the ultimate terror is ejection from the cult.

–The only pain experienced by the follower is disapproval by the leader.

–The follower may not question or criticize the leader.

I call this infantile because the cluster parallels the mother-infant relationship:

–The infant has no personal identity;

–The infant is purely a receptacle for the ministrations and milk of the mother;

–The infant’s sole duty is to imbibe the mother’s milk;

–Happiness for the infant is the present mother; the ultimate terror for the infant is maternal absence.

–The only emotional pain of the infant is the absence of mother.

–The infant cannot question or criticize the mother.

–The only emotions experienced by the infant are bliss or happiness (in mother’s presence); anger or rage (the screaming or biting infant); loneliness; and fear (when they feel insecure, as in being insecurely held).

This appears to be the model for the therapist’s technique:

–The patient has no personal identity.  (“Why are you so concerned with psychological testing?”  “I don’t believe in categories or labels.”)

–The patient is purely a receptacle for the feedback of the therapist;

–The patient sole duty is to imbibe the therapist’s feedback.  (She has never asked for my reaction to anything she has ever said.  Dr. Palombo used to ask all the time “Any thoughts?” after he made an interpretation.

–Happiness for the patient is to be in the therapist’s presence; the ultimate fear for the patient is therapist absence or disapproval.  (I couldn’t care less what she disapproves of.  I fact, I get off ticking her off.)

–The only emotional pain of the patient is loneliness.

–The patient may not question or criticize the therapist.  Negative transference cannot be processed.  Negative transference is synonymous with bad behavior.

–The only emotions experienced by the patient are happiness (when with the therapist or others); anger; loneliness; and fear. (“How do you feel around people,” she asked.  I said, “I feel a sense of alienation.”  She said, “Let me show you how that is really fear of rejection.”  “Most of the people I work with complain about fear of rejection and loneliness.”  The fact is she can’t process “a sense of alienation” because infants don’t experience a sense of alienation.    If I tell her I feel frustrated by her, she says, “you are feeling angry.”  The fact she is can’t process feelings of  “frustration” because infants don’t feel frustration.  It’s as if she were an artist whose palette only includes the primary colors: red, yellow and blue.  Forget about green, orange, violet —  forget about any shades of blue altogether.  It’s simply: you are angry, you are lonely, you are happy, you are afraid.

You might ask: why would any patient find being treated like an infant to be beneficial?  The fact is the literature shows how some people in pain get a psychological boost out of being in a cult and being reduced to the status of infant.

See, for example:

“Membership in the cult provides a sense of identity or belonging for those personalities whose underlying sense of identity is flawed. Kohut for example, discussed the role that organizations played in restoring identity and cohesion for persons or groups with self pathology.”

“Even though the overt behaviors of the cult may be pathological, the response may be thought of as empathic because it provides the sense of belonging that the person desires. For the damaged self, a pathologic relationship or attachment is viewed as preferable to the emptiness and isolation that the
self would otherwise experience.”

Paraphrase: “Even though the therapist’s behaviors may be pathological, the response may be thought of as empathic because it provides the sense of belonging that the patient desires.”

 The loss of personal identity and the assumption of a group identity (either in a cult or in cult-like therapy) restores a sense of cohesion for the individual.

Why do you think the majority of Russians love Putin — it’s an “escape from freedom.”

I’m thinking she has to be a narcissistically-disturbed person.  Cult leaders are always narcissistically-disturbed people.

On the Meaning of Things and Dr. Jama

What Gives You Meaning Concept

I’m single, available, with the soul of a black man!

–Woody Allen, Deconstructing Harry

I have been in psychotherapy continuously since the fall of 1992. I have seen about 16 different therapists: psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers. I tend not to like my therapists. I don’t develop a connection with them and I sense that they don’t have an intuitive feeling for me: my personality and my personality problems. I have what some call an “introjective” personality.  I am concerned with my identity and self-definition — unlike so-called “anaclitic” persons who are concerned with interpersonal relatedness.

In 2009 I began therapy with Abas Jama, M.D., a psychiatrist. I liked him immediately. I connected with him at an intuitive level very early — my positive feelings for him never diminished. He seemed more secure and seemed to have more personality scope than my other therapists.

At one point Dr. Jama made an observation about me that no other therapist has ever made. It seemed to go to the heart of my personality. He said: “The meaning of things is very important to you. Everything has to have meaning to you.”

A few days ago I was reading a technical article about introjective and anaclitic persons. The article pointed out the important finding that introjective patients in therapy are primarily concerned with the meaning of things. Dr. Jama tapped into that in my personality. None of my other therapists have ever mentioned that.

Anaclitic patients tend to use more verbalizations for asking their therapists for more feedback as a way to be understood by them (attune), but primarily to work on contents referred to others during the session (referred to a third party).  [That is, the patients talk about other persons.]  This result is consistent with the fact that anaclitic patients are always desperately concerned about issues of trust, closeness, and the dependability of others, as well as about their own capacity to love and express affection. It is not a surprise that anaclitic patients use these verbal micromarkers, which express their exaggerated anxiety about establishing and maintaining interpersonal relationships. The patients’ need to be cared for, loved, and protected, along with the permanent fear of being abandoned, configure a pattern that can be used to relate with their partners out of the session, but also with their therapists within the session.

In contrast, as we expected, introjective patients tend to use more resignifications [that is, redefining the meaning of things] in order to co-construct and/or consolidate new meanings; in addition, they use more verbalizations for working on contents in which the protagonist of the therapeutic work is not a person, but a reserved and distant position (neutral reference). This result is consistent with the fact that these patients share an exaggerated and distorted preoccupation with establishing and maintaining a definition of the self, at the expense of establishing meaningful interpersonal relationships. The cognitive processes in patients with an introjective configuration are more fully developed, and have a greater potential for the development of logical thought. They think primarily in sequential and linguistic terms and emphasize the analysis or the critical dissection of details and the juxtaposition and comparison of part properties (Blatt, 2008). Introjective patients use resignifications [that is, they redefine the meaning of things] in order to note and emphasize differences and contradictions between the contents worked on during the therapeutic conversation, but primarily in the service of differentiation and self-definition. They have an ideational orientation; at the same time, they value reason over emotions as a way to be judgmental and critical of self.

Two issues: What does it mean that I connected emotionally with Dr. Jama immediately at our first meeting before I knew anything about him consciously? What does it mean months into my relationship he made a highly insightful observation that went to the core of my personality and that none of my other therapists since 1992 have ever had a comparable insight?

On Making the System Brittle: If Some Youths Did Not Isolate Themselves


Sometimes it is necessary to be lonely in order to prove that you are right.
–Vladimir Putin


In the case of great young men (and in the cases of many vital young ones of whom we should not demand that they reveal at all costs the stigmata of greatness in order to justify confusion and conflict), rods which measure consistency, inner balance, or proficiency simply do not fit the relevant dimensions. On the contrary, a case could be made for the necessity for extraordinary conflicts, at times both felt and judged to be desperate. For if some youths did not feel estranged from the compromise patterns into which their societies have settled down, if some did not force themselves almost against their own wills to insist, at the price of isolation, on finding an original way of meeting our existential problems, societies would lose an essential avenue of rejuvenation and to that rebellious expansion of human consciousness which alone can keep pace with the technological and social change. To retrace, as we are doing here, such a step of expansion involves taking account of the near downfall of the man who took it, partially in order to understand better the origin of greatness, and partially in order to acknowledge the fact that the trauma of near defeat follows a great man through life. I have already quoted Kierkegaard’s statement that [Martin] Luther lived and acted always as if lightening were about to strike behind him. Furthermore, a great man carries the trauma of his near downfall and his mortal grudge against the near assassins of his identity into the years of his creativity and beyond, into his decline; he builds his hates and his grudges into his system as bulwarks–bulwarks which eventually make the system first rigid and finally, brittle.”

Erikson, E.H. Young Man Luther: A Study in Psychoanalysis and History at 149-150 (New York: W.W. Norton, 1958).

This Paper is a Must-Read for my Therapist!!

She keeps coming on to me with this idea that I need to adjust to her.  This paper shows — experimentally — that it’s her duty to adjust to me!!!  They make me out to be unreasonable and demanding with therapists.  I’m not!!  The literature supports everything I say.  Not to say there aren’t contrary opinions — but there are therapists who would say I am right.  I’m not out in left field as Peter Rose would say!!

These findings suggest the importance of the therapists’ early adjusting their orientation on relatedness or self-definition to their patients’ predominant personality configuration in order to enhance treatment outcomes.



Verbal expressions used by anaclitic and introjective patients with depressive symptomatology: Analysis of change and stuck episodes within therapeutic sessions

A person’s speech makes it possible to identify significant indicators which reflect certain characteristics of his/her personality organization, but also can vary depending on the relevance of specific moments of the session and the symptoms type. The present study analyzed 10 completed and successful therapeutic processes using a mixed methodology. The therapies were video–and audio-taped, as well as observed through a one-way mirror by trained observers. All the sessions of each therapy were considered (N = 230) in order to identify, delimit, transcribe, and analyze Change Episodes (CEs = 24) and Stuck Episodes (SEs = 26). Each episode was made up by patients’ speech segments (N = 1,282), which were considered as the sampling unit. The Therapeutic Activity Coding System (TACS-1.0) was used to manually code each patient’s verbalizations, nested within episodes and individuals, in order to analyze them using Hierarchical Linear Modelling (HLM). The findings suggest that anaclitic patients tend to use more verbalizations in order to ask for feedback or to be understood by their therapists (attune), whereas introjective patients tend to use more verbalizations in order to construct new meanings (resignify) during therapeutic conversation, but especially during SEs. Clinical implications to enrich the therapeutic practice are discussed.

email Message to Israeli Psychologist Golan Shahar — Colleague of the late Sidney Blatt at Yale

Dr. Shahar’s research is specifically addressed at my personality type: the introjective (self critical) individual. Dr. Shahar’s research has shown that people like me (with excessive self-criticism) create the environmental conditions that lead other people to criticize them. Whoa!!

Dr. Shahar would say I created the situation at Akin Gump!!

Shahar and others have observed that, empirically, self-criticism confers much more social vulnerability than being a dependent person. 

“You create the problem at Akin Gump by not practicing law.  You give the impression of being a weak, dependent person.”  We can finally lay that nonsense to rest.   The problem is self-criticism.  In Freudian terms it’s exactly what I said in The Caliban Complex: unconscious guilt.  In Kleinian terms, my bad internal objects seek out persecuting objects in the environment.  And I was seeing a psychoanalyst in 1990 while I worked at Akin Gump.  His theory:  “you’re a freak!”    No.  It’s unconscious self-criticism (in Freudian terms, guilt).  Why do I have to be constantly explaining these things to experts?

Shahar decided to decipher the nature of criticism in the self, relationships, and – more recently – in brain structure and function. His empirical work, spanning two decades, has illuminated the central role of self-criticism in diverse psychopathologies. He has identified interpersonal pathways through which self-criticism confers its vulnerability. Specifically, research suggests that self-critical individuals actively create a social environment marred with stress and replete with positive events and social support, which, in turn, brings about these individuals’ distress. In adolescence, this distress feeds back to individuals’ self-criticism, creating “a self-critical cascade”. This cascade is played out both within and outside psychotherapy.

Finally, I found somebody who can help me — and he’s in Israel!!!  You can’t win!!

Dr. Shahar:

I am a psychotherapy patient. I have a classic introjective personality as described by Dr. Blatt. My therapist is attachment based. I have written up some summaries of my sessions. May I interest you to take a look at what I’ve written? The text is at the following link:

Gary Freedman
Washington, DC