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  • Dyane Sherwood

Susanna Wright: "Meaning at the margins" in clinical work


Although Susanna Wright does not use this term, nor does she cite James, her recent article in The Journal of Analytical Psychology shows us the importance of "meaning at the margins" for clinical work.


Wright was awarded the annual Fordham prize for the outstanding article of the year. Wright beautifully articulates a fundamental aspect of the analytic attitude as I understand it.


You can find out more about her article and view a video by visiting this site: https://thejap.org/the-michael-fordham-prize/fordham-prizewinner-for-2020


Here is the abstract of Susanna's article from that site:


The abstract of Susanna Wright's paper:

The paper considers a ‘befallment’ that occurred in the course of analysis at a time when the focus of work was too much at a conscious level, dissociated from the patient’s embodied and visceral depths. A rigidly held attitude of focal attention is considered as potentially a defence against embodied experiences of overwhelm and vulnerability that may haunt shadowy realms which remain unlit by the narrow beam of conscious awareness. Rather as a dream drifts in from the unconscious, an enactment by the analyst brought neglected aspects of the transference and countertransference relationship into the room. Later, the patient’s own dreaming mind offered images that suggested an underlying dynamic. These subtle communications, alongside the patient’s attitude toward the analyst’s lapse, are considered as factors in the achievement of greater embodied integration. The analyst’s difficulty in arriving at a formulation of such events is discussed, along with the necessity of holding such ‘befallments’ in mind over long periods of time before any explanation can be adumbrated.


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