“Thus, the shadow of the object fell upon the ego, and the latter could henceforth be judged by a special agency, as though it were an object, the forsaken object. In this way, an object-loss was transformed into an ego-loss, and the conflict between the ego and the loved person into a cleavage between the critical activity of the ego and the ego as altered by identification.” (S. Freud, 1917, Mourning and Melancholia)
“In teaching, as in the feeding of a child, the capacity to use objects is taken for granted, but in our work it is necessary for us to be concerned with the development and the establishment of the capacity to use objects and to recognize a patient’s inability to use objects, where this is a fact. … It is in the analysis of the borderline type of case that one has the chance to observe the delicate phenomena that give pointers to an understanding of truly schizophrenic states. By the term ‘a borderline case’ I mean the kind of case in which the core of the patient’s disturbance is psychotic, but the patient has enough psychoneurotic organization always to be able to present psychoneurosis or psychosomatic disorder when the central psychotic anxiety threatens to break through in crude form. In such cases the psychoanalyst may collude for years with the patient’s need to be psychoneurotic (as opposed to mad) and to be treated as psychoneurotic. The analysis goes well, and everyone is pleased. The only drawback is that the analysis never ends.” (D. W. Winnicott, 1969, The Use of an Object)
In Freud’s (1937) last clinical paper, Analysis Terminable and Interminable, he restates the concept of the altered ego as an ego which “approximates to that of the psychotic.” In this course, we will do a close reading of both Mourning and Melancholia and The Use of an Object, looking at Winnicott’s reformulation of Freud’s journey in recognizing the role of unrecognized ‘madness’ in analysis interminable and at impasse. The object, the lost object, which the psychotic approximate and the borderline patient cannot use – is the analyst. We will look at Winnicott’s clinical recommendations and students will use clinical vignettes to experiment with interventions with patients who cannot use the analyst as an object existing independent of the patient in time and space.