Irma Pick Obituary, Death- Irma Brenman Pick, a psychoanalytic who passed away at the age of 89, conducted research on the work that analysts need to do on their own.
emotional reactions (and non-reactions) to the patient. She looked at the work that analysts need to perform on their own emotional reactions to the patient. Transference is a fundamental concept in psychoanalysis. This refers to the patient transferring their feelings, such as love, rage, or reliance, onto the analyst. According to the conventional wisdom, which was popularized by Sigmund Freud.
analysts should not permit themselves to be upset by emotions produced in this kind of way, and if they do, the result is likely to be a transference distortion in reverse, also known as a “counter-transference.” Many people had the belief that taking this route would make it impossible for an analyst to maintain the level of detached calm needed of them. Irma had the impression that situations like these were unavoidable.
Working Through in the Countertransference (1985), which was later reprinted in Authenticity in the Psychoanalytic Encounter (2018), which is a collection of her papers, had an essential role in modifying that perspective, not the least of which due to the exquisite vignettes that she gives.
She says that analysts are unable to avoid being emotionally impacted by their patients; the challenge is to be able to use these emotional sensations as potential knowledge about the patient, particularly about the patient’s younger self, which can be disclosed in the analytic encounter if we are able to perceive it. This requires the analyst to work on their own, frequently unconscious responses.
this is a process that may be especially challenging when working with teenagers; yet, it is required if one is to get a sense of the often distressingly powerful experiences that adolescents go through. The expression of such responses in a thoughtless and unmodified manner does, in fact.’
interfere with an appropriate neutrality; on the other hand, denying or concealing them leads in the loss of opportunities for the relationship to be deepened. In both the patient and the analyst, as well as in the professional relationship between the two, these tendencies foster inauthenticity.
Irma worked solidly within the creative tradition that had been established by Freud’s pupil Melanie Klein. Melanie Klein had emphasized the distorting character of what she dubbed phantasies, which are underlying, sometimes unconscious preconceptions that are at the core of patients’ destructiveness.
Irma worked strongly within this tradition. Irma acknowledged, as part of yet another one of her swings in emphasis, the possibility that patients may accurately intuit certain characteristics of their analysts, in the same way that children may accurately tune in to the emotions of their parents.
As analysts, we have to be willing and able to examine how our own actions have contributed to the process, whether it be superficiality or a standstill. As a result, Irma demonstrated in excruciating detail, just like Wilfred Bion and Donald Winnicott did before her, how we had to take seriously both our internal and exterior realities.
The formation of an authentic identity, as well as the consequences of failing to do so, is the subject of several of her writings. We are all susceptible to denying aspects of our personality and getting rid of those aspects through the process of projection.
Irma outlines a similar challenge in the ways that we take on the characteristics and roles of other people. She thinks that our appropriation of them may be a type of theft: we take over and embrace the attributes of our parents or analysts, thereby obtaining a pseudo-maturity.
Irma says that in order to properly grasp a patient, the analyst needs two hands: one hand should be hard enough to hold the patient’s destructive portions, while the other hand should be gentle enough to hold the patient’s more vulnerable, truthful, and loving sides.
Because of her profound love and admiration for the love and affection of others, she began to place an even greater emphasis on these characteristics than she had in the past as she got older and grew more cognizant of how dependent we are on one another.