18 January 2009

Analysis Terminable and Interminable

In “Analysis Terminable and Interminable,” Freud states that analysis finally must end even though analysis truly can never cease. I find his rationale so credible that I think at times I have constructed a life about it. My argument (after Freud) goes like this: we are all neurotic. None of us can have everything we desire at exactly that moment when we desire it. To our frustration we compensatorily respond: we seek something else which satisfied our drive in a way which does not threaten the social fabric. Indeed, Freud suggests that the social fabric (civilization) develops as a result of these repressions and displacements. We take the energies of our libidinal drives and channel them into something socially acceptable and even enhancing. These frustrations are neuroses, and for the most part, these neuroses do not inhibit our functionings in the world, though they certainly do direct them in a very powerful manner. For the most part, these neuroses do not debilitate.

However, sometimes, indeed, these neuroses lead to serious dysfunctionality, and to deal with this condition, one enters analysis/therapy. One addresses there the patterns of life to understand what behaviors no longer function productively, and how our inevitable neurotic responses to our lives no longer serve their previous purposes.

And the talking cure can work, and the neurosis neutralized facilitates better living. Analysis is terminated. But, since our lives are organized by neuroses, once the energy of one neurosis is neutralized, then space and energy is available for another neuroses to appear which had been held back by the power of the now neutralized neuroses to ascend to prominence. Or the space cleared by the elimination of one neurosis makes space for another one to appear. And the dynamic begins again, until this new now-functioning neurosis leads to an order of dysfunctionality sending one back to analysis. And the talking cure can work, and the neurosis neutralized facilitates better living. Analysis is terminated. But . . .

Perhaps you see the problem. Resolving one neuroses only makes space for the appearance of another neurosis possible. Analysis is interminable.
So we go through our lives energized by our neuroses and debilitated by them as well. The neurosis offers us a means of being in society. We enter analysis to return us to the constructive energy of the neurotic response which has been somehow lost through the neurotic nature of our behaviors, and in analysis we hope for the cure so that we can gather again the energy contained in neuroses.
It is a potentially exhausting pattern, or it is a very dynamic process. The ability to accept this pattern keeps me happy and productive and to succumb to the pattern leads me to unhappiness and depression.

Sometimes I consider that running long distances has served to remind me of this cycle. Finishing any one long run does not complete the process; I still have to get up tomorrow and do it again. And sometimes the runs are not at all pleasant or fun, and I sometimes (more often now than before) elect not to go out at all. It is almost always a mistake not to go, and my running partner, as would a good therapis, often helps me get out. I am always healthier as a result. Probably this is one motive for the running: it is a productive neurotic response to my life’s events, and it has become an incredibly valuable response. Long may I run. But . . . what beast slouches in my psyche waiting for its opportunity.


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