Three Thought-Provoking Papers by David Bell, MD
Presented by Bernard Feinberg, MD
David Bell, a member of the British Psychoanalytic Society, writes about the relationship between psychoanalysis and literature, politics and philosophy. Each of the 3 articles selected for this course demonstrate his interest in applying psychoanalytic knowledge to achieve a deeper understanding of both the individual mind and of the culture. We begin our first class with ‘Is truth an illusion?,’ in which Bell argues for the importance of pursuing deeper truths even as we accept the patient’s deeply subjective experience of his or her world.
The argument he sets out becomes the intellectual basis for the second week’s article, ‘First do no harm’. This article will give us the chance to discuss a culturally important topic. When a child or adolescent wishes urgently to change his or her body to conform to his or her subjective experience of gender, should we regard the matter as conclusive and closed or make an effort to investigate? Bell offers his views on this controversial subject.
The third class concludes with Bells’ presentation of some of Bion’s contributions to the field. Here, he highlights the hazard that treatment can degenerate into a moralistic interaction. For example, a patient may feel he’s been promised a cure in return for confessing his badness. In another expression of moralism, the therapist is possessed by a fear of criticism for failing to make a sufficient number of transference interpretations. Strategies such as these can only fail.
Wednesdays, March 2, 9, 16, 2022 at 7 p.m. / 4.5 Credits / $135 / Intermediate / location TBD
Questions? Contact us at 314-361-7075 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Cancellations will be accepted up to one week prior to the first session. Make check payable and send to St. Louis Psychoanalytic Institute 7700 Clayton Rd, Ste 200, St. Louis, MO 63117
1. At the conclusion of the course, the student will be able to describe the way in which truth and knowledge are linked.
2. The student will be able to choose and justify the correct conclusion to the following statement: A person who believes he dislikes another person solely because of bad qualities of his own that he has projected into the other person is a. a genuinely moral person b. a person with an objective view of himself and others c. a subjectivist 3
. The student will be able to describe the difference between a person with gender dysphoria and a transgender person.
4. Comment on the clash between the rapid provision of medical intervention to a child or adolescent who is distressed about their sexual body and urgently wishes to change it, on the one hand, and, on the other, the task of thinking through, over time, the possible sources of the individual’s gender dysphoria.
5. Explain and illustrate the observation that technical recommendations in psychoanalysis that begin as sound ideas are liable over time to turn into moralistic injunctions.
6. The development of thinking evolves with the individual’s relation to the absent good object. The student will be able to order the following steps in the development of logic, with “1” being the earliest developmental and logical stage to “4” being the most advanced. (Their order has been scrambled in the list)
a. While the object is felt to be absent but to exist elsewhere, it is still experienced as good (gratifying, loving, etc.)
b. The good object is experienced as present so long as an hallucination of it can be sustained.
c. The absent good object is recognized as absent while it is at the same time felt to exist elsewhere. As a consequence of being absent, it is experienced as a bad (depriving) object.
d. The absent object good object is experienced as a present bad object