The Confusional Link

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Organised by:

Tavistock Relationships

19 April 2024

Time: 16:30 - 19:30

Price: £90.00 (£76.50 Trainee/NHS)

Location: online


The Confusional Link: Exploring Early Relational Trauma, Fusion and Infinity in Psychotherapy

With Judy Eekhof

Working with patients who have been traumatized as infants and young children can be confusing for the therapist who is accustomed to working in the symbolic order. In order to cope with traumatic, psychic overwhelm, these patients have retreated from object relations and continue to relate to others concretely as things or functions. Their relations are body relations, consisting of unconscious symbiotic union with others. Since often trauma survivors become adept in the world, often well educated and finding professional jobs, their concreteness and difficulty processing emotion may go unnoticed. There can be a display of pseudo-maturity and pseudo-object relations.

For therapists and analysts working the somatic relational process in therapeutic work with this traumatized client group can be confusing and disorienting. Analysts and therapists frequently report confusion by not being able to find meaning in a patient’s words or emotion and in their narratives. This confusion is uncomfortable and frightening, sometimes eliciting in the analyst a need for an immediate answer, an immediate understanding. When that does not appear in the analyst’s confused mind, unmediated affect such as rage or extreme maternal care, intense love or violent hate, can arise inside the analyst. These experiences contribute to the confusion and disturbance, while the violent affects and emotions seemingly create an illusion of certainty.

This seminar will offer an opportunity to think about how the therapist or analyst can learn to value this confusion as information. This challenging process can give rise to the containment of previously unrepresented experience which can result in the development of a three-dimensional analytic space and be internalized by the patient for a successful outcome. Through the seminar there will be lectures and time for Q&A with our speaker and colleagues.

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