Longing, Seeking, Yearning

Peter spoke to the material he had provided for the meeting. This was chapter two and three from Longing: Psychoanalytic Musings on Desire. Jean Petrucelli ed., published by Karnac in 2006.


Chapter 3: Secrets of analytic love and the transformation of desire; PollyYoung -Eisendrath

Chapter 2: “It never entered my mind”; some reflections on desire, dissociation and dislosure. Philip M. Blomberg

The focus was the former chapter 2.


The group found a way into the essence of what the author might have meant by ‘analytic love’. That essence emerged firstly out of our sharing our work with clients and our personal experience of disappointment because of our desire for them and for ourselves. We explored therefore the ways in which we seek to ‘move’ from our own inner disturbances to be with the client in theirs.


We ‘knew’ the author was on to something exquisitively real when we were able to name that disappointment and both parties then found themselves experiencing a deeply felt release, physically and emotionally and psychologically.


We understand, of course, that our ways of defending ourselves from shame, or anger, or disappointment or being a disappointment, were formed in our beings during early life attachment experience. We eventually found the image of parent and infant seeking and finding each other’s gaze put us in touch with what we need (desire) and the pain of loss when that ‘gaze’ and its correlates were not there. Hopefully that allows us to attune to the clients inner world a little better – to be ‘good enough parents’ for ameliorated psychotherapy to be effective. What we were in touch with here collectively was that we experienced ourselves the physical disturbance in our bodies that told us we were speaking of something true about human experience. No wonder then that we acknowledge the poverty of our capacity to do this in life outside of the consulting room.


The author used language of Einsteinian quantum theory to try to say something that was true and real about being human. Quantum theory we think, says that the object (subatomic particle) changes by being observed. Indeed it might also be exists only when it is observed. Could it be than that the human organism needs to be observed in order to grow, develop, be more fully human? If this is the case, then person centredness providing it was love not desire, is in itself healing for the other. Perhaps this is what the author was meaning when speaking of ‘analytic love’?


The members shared the disappointment felt when we know we are able to focus on the other when in a group or social situation, yet we share the experience and the pain that very selfdom does anyone seem to be able to do that for us. And that can be painful.


So, the book’s subject of ‘longing’ directed us to wonder about the hope that appears to be within us that as homo sapiens, our best development would come from paying attention to the other and attempting that empathic connection (even though it might not be reciprocated) and yet we ‘know’that such relationships would save our society and our world.(The academic questions here are about the choice between a belief that it is our neurobiological inheritance which, in order to survive, moved towards empathic connection. One wonders if the universal need in human beings to have a language for that which we call spiritual experience, might direct us to concept of creation and an creator for which homo sapiens uses the metaphor of ‘soul’ to describe)


Perhaps we can console ourselves with the realisation that we can express love, as analytic love, where we have the opportunity. With that awareness there is a hope of a changing world which must suffice as motivation for living, coupled with the belief that the loving gaze and attention of another is the way in which we grow and keep our emotional balance in the world.


In this we hope. And could continue to survive?


Longing, Seeking, Yearning