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THOMAS H. OGDEN - The Analytic Third

THOMAS H. OGDEN - The Analytic Third

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Published by Marjan Taneski
Thomas Ogden received his B.A. from Amherst College in Massachusetts and his M.D. from Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut, where he also did his psychiatric residency. He served for a year as an Associate Psychiatrist at the Tavistock Clinic in London and did his analytic training at the San Francisco Psychoanalytic Institute in California, where he has remained on the faculty. Dr Ogden is a Supervising and Personal Analyst at the Psyc
Thomas Ogden received his B.A. from Amherst College in Massachusetts and his M.D. from Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut, where he also did his psychiatric residency. He served for a year as an Associate Psychiatrist at the Tavistock Clinic in London and did his analytic training at the San Francisco Psychoanalytic Institute in California, where he has remained on the faculty. Dr Ogden is a Supervising and Personal Analyst at the Psyc

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Published by: Marjan Taneski on Feb 20, 2012
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Thomas Ogden received his B.A. from Amherst College in Massachusetts and his M.D. from Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut, where he also did his psychiatric residency. He served for a year as an AssociatePsychiatrist at the Tavistock Clinic in London and did his analytic training at the San Francisco Psychoanalytic Insti-tute in California, where he has remained on the faculty. Dr Ogden is a Supervising and Personal Analyst at thePsychoanalytic Institute of Northern California. He has for more than 25 years served as Director of the Center for theAdvanced Study of the Psychoses and at various times has been a member of the North American Editorial Board of 
The International Journal of Psychoanalysis, Psychoanalytic Dialogues,
The Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic.
He is amember of the Standing Committee on the Psychoses of the International Psychoanalytical Association and a memberof the International Advisory Panel of 
The Complete Works of Donald W. Winnicott.
Dr Ogden is the author of more than 50 papers in major psychoanalytic journals on topics as varied as OnPsychoanalytic Writing, On Psychoanalytic Supervision, Reverie and Metaphor: Some Thoughts On How I Work asa Psychoanalyst, Listening: Three Frost Poems, Borges and the Art of Mourning, The Concept of InterpretiveInteraction, On the Nature of Schizophrenic Conflict, and On Holding and Containing, Being and Dreaming. He isthe author of seven books, and his books and papers have been published in more than 17 languages.Dr Ogdens honours include the 2004
International Journal of Psychoanalysis
Award for the Most Important Paper of the Year, the William C. Menninger Award of the Central Neuropsychiatric Association, and the Seymour L. LustmanMemorial Psychiatric Research Prize.During the past decade, Ogdens concepts of the analytic third and the analysts reverie have become increasinglyimportant and widely discussed topics, and he has supplied important new dimensions to the discussions of intersubjectivity and counter-transference.The following is Dr Ogdens statement concerning the place of his work in American psychoanalysis:
The papers I wrote in my first 10 years of analytic writing (1974-1984) were papers that both introduced Americanpsychoanalysts to British psychoanalytic thinkingprimarily the work of Klein, Winnicott, Fairbairn, and Bionbut alsoserved as a vehicle for the development of my own ideas.In my 1979 paper On Projective Identification, and in my books
Projective Identification and PsychotherapeuticTechnique
The Matrix of the Mind: Object Relations and the Psychoanalytic Dialogue,
I was not simply explaining theideas of Klein, Fairbairn, Winnicott, and Bion to an audience that had almost no familiarity with their work, I was creatingmy own version of ideas that they introduced. My idea of projective identification was not, and still is not, what a BritishKleinian would endorse. I view projective identification as an unconscious intra-psychic/interpersonal process, whereasthe London Kleinians (despite the work of Bion and Rosenfeld) still view it almost entirely as an intra-psychic process.Similarly, I have tried to invent anew many of Winnicotts, Fairbairns, and Bions ideas. A reviewer of 
The Matrix of theMind 
The Psychoanalytic Quarterly 
complained that he could not tell where Kleins, Winnicotts, and Fairbairns ideasended and where mine began. I took it as the highest compliment he could have paid me.In the years that followed (1984-1989), I wrote about what I refer to as the autistic-contiguous position, a mode of generating experience that is equally important as, but more primitive than, the paranoid-schizoid and depressivepositions. It is an almost entirely sensation-dominated form of experiencing in which there is no inside or outside, onlysurfaces and perimeters. These contributions made use of the work of Tustin, Bick, and Meltzer as starting points for thedevelopment of my own ideas. The papers I wrote during this period were collected in my book 
The Primitive Edge of Experience.
Between 1989 and 2001, an important focus of my thinking and writing was on the place in the analytic process of reverieand the analytic third. During these years I wrote a good deal on how we communicate in the analytic setting (i.e., the waywe convey our thoughts and feelings through the effects that we create in our use of language). In other words, style(voice, tone, use of metaphor and so on) on the one hand, and content, on the other, are inseparable. I have explored thisby looking closely at the poetry of Frost, Heaney, and Stevens as well as the fictions of Borges. My books
Subjects of  Analysis, Reverie and Interpretation: Sensing Something Human,
Conversations at the Frontier of Dreaming
present these aspects of my analytic thinking.My new book,
This Art of Psychoanalysis: Dreaming Undreamt Dreams and Interrupted Cries,
is published in the NewLibrary of Psychoanalysis series. This work builds upon the entirety of my writing up to this point. In the papers collectedin this book, I offer a re-vised conception of the place of dreaming in analytic theory and its role in analytic practice. Fol-lowing Bion, I view dreaming (which continues both while we are awake and asleep) as synonymous with unconsciouspsychological work. The aim of psychoanalysis, from this perspective, is to assist the patient in dreaming his or her livedexperience more fully.Central to psychoanalysis, as I conceive of it, is the analysts participation in dreaming the patients undreamt andinterrupted dreams. Interrupted dreams (metaphorical nightmares) are emotional experiences with which the patient is able to dream (to do genuine unconscious psychological work) up to a point. However, past a certain point, the patientsdreaming is disruptedthe capacity for dreaming is overwhelmed by the disturbing nature of what is being dreamt. At that point the patient wakes up, that is, ceases to be able to do unconscious psychological work (e.g., as seen in a childsplay disruption). The place at which dreaming ceases is marked by the creation of neurotic and other forms of non-psychotic symptomatology. By contrast, undreamt dreams are emotional experiences with which the patient is able to do
little or no conscious or unconscious psychological work. Undreamable experience is held in split-off states such aspockets of psychosis or in psycho-somatic disorders and severe perversions.For me, the thread running through all of what I have said is that my position in the analytic world has not been that of anadvocate of a school of psychoanalysis (or as an adversary of opposing schools of psychoanalysis). Neither do I viewmyself as a lone voice, because that suggests that I think of myself as a renegade. I would much prefer to describe myself as an independent thinker.
I chose The Analytic Third: Implications for Psychoanalytic Theory and Technique for inclusion in this volume becauseit represents for me not the end of a line of thought but a gathering of thoughts that had their origins in my earliest effortsat analytic writing in the 1970s. The central idea in this paper on the analytic third is the notion that much of the time inthe analytic setting it takes two people genuinely to think and to dream. This idea, though implicit in Freuds work, wasfirst articulated by Bion and Rosenfeld in the form of their development of the concept of projective identification as anunconscious, psychological-interpersonal process. That concept provided me a point of entry into my own explorations of the ways in which analyst and analysand participate in thinking thoughts and dreaming dreams that neither person couldhave done on his or her own.
The analytic third is a concept that has become for me in the course of the past decade an indispensable part of the theory and technique that I rely on in every analytic session. In the present paper I draw on previous clinicaland theoretical contributions (Ogden 1994a, 1994b, 1999), in an effort to gather together in one place a number of elements of my thinking on the subject of the analytic third. As will be discussed, I consider the dialectical move-ment of individual subjectivity (of the analyst and analysand as separate individuals, each with his or her ownunconscious life) and intersubjectivity (the jointly created unconscious life of the analytic pair) to be a centralclinical phenomenon of psychoanalysis, one that virtually all clinical analytic thinking attempts to describe in evermore precise and generative terms.My own conception of analytic intersubjectivity represents an elaboration and extension of Winnicott¶s (1960)notion that ³There is no such thing as an infant [apart from the maternal provision]´ (p. 39, fn.). I believe that inan analytic context, there is no such thing as an analysand apart from the relationship with the analyst, and nosuch thing as an analyst apart from the relationship with the analysand. Winnicott¶s now famous statement is tomy mind intentionally incomplete.He assumes that it will be understood that the idea that there is no such thing as an infant is playfully hyperbolicand represents one element of a larger paradoxical statement. From another perspective (from the point of view of the other ³pole´ of the paradox), there is obviously an infant, and a mother, who constitute separate physicaland psychological entities. The mother-infant unity co-exists in dynamic tension with the mother and infant intheir separateness.In both the relationship of mother and infant and the relationship of analyst and analysand, the task is not totease apart the elements constituting the relationship in an effort to determine which qualities belong to whom;rather, from the point of view of the interdependence of subject and object, the analytic task involves an attemptto describe the specific nature of the experience of the unconscious interplay of individual subjectivity and inter-subjectivity. In Part I of the present paper, I shall attempt to trace in some detail the vicissitudes of the experienceof being simultaneously within and outside of the unconscious intersubjectivity of the analyst-analysand that Ihave termed the
analytic third 
(Ogden 1994a).
This third subjectivity, the intersubjective analytic third, is a pro-duct of a unique dialectic generated by/between the separate subjectivities of analyst and analysand within theanalytic setting. It is a subjectivity that seems to take on a life of its own in the interpersonal field between analystand analysand.In Part II of this contribution, I will offer a re-consideration of the phenomenon of projective identification andits role in the analytic process by viewing it as a form of the intersubjective analytic third. In projective identi-fication, as I understand it, the individual subjectivities of both analyst and analysand are to a large extent sub-sumed by a third subject of analysis, an unconscious, co-created one: the
subjugating third.
 A successful analyticexperience involves a superseding of the third by means of mutual recognition of analyst and analysand asseparate subjects and a re-appropriation of the (transformed) individual subjectivities of the participants.
³The Analytic Third: Implications for Psychoanalytic Theory and Technique,´ by Thomas H. Ogden, M.D., was first publishedin
he Psychoanalytic Quarterly,
73(1): 167±194, 2004. Copyright © 2004 The Psychoanalytic Quarterly. Slightly adapted andabridged for this publication. Used with permission.
It is beyond the scope of this paper to offer a comprehensive review of the literature concerning an intersubjective view of theanalytic process and the nature of the unconscious interplay of transference and counter-transference. See Bion¶s (1962) andGreen¶s (1975) work concerning the ³analytic object´ and Barranger¶s (1993) notion of the ³analytic field´ for conceptions of un-conscious analytic intersubjectivity that overlap with what I call the ³analytic third´. For thoughtful reviews of the rather large body of literature on the transference±counter-transference, see Boyer (1993) and Etchegoyen (1991).
I will now present a fragment of an analysis followed by a discussion of the importance of the analyst¶s attendingto the most mundane, everyday aspects of the background workings of his or her mind (which appear to be theanalyst¶s ³own stuff´ entirely unrelated to the patient). I shall also discuss the analyst¶s task of using verbalsymbols to speak with a voice that has lived within the intersubjective analytic third, has been changed by thatexperience, and is able to speak from it and about it to the analysand (who has also lived the experience of thethird).
 In an analytic session with Mr L, a patient with whom I had been working for about 3 years, I found myself look-ing at an envelope on the table next to my chair. For the previous week or 10 days, I had been using the envelopeto jot down phone numbers retrieved from my answering machine, ideas for classes I was teaching, errands I hadto do, and other notes to myself. Although the envelope had been in plain view for over a week, I had not noticeduntil that moment in the meeting that there was a series of vertical lines in the lower right hand portion of thefront of the envelope, markings that seemed to indicate that the letter had been part of a bulk mailing. I was takenaback by a distinct feeling of disappointment. The letter that had arrived in the envelope was from a colleague inItaly who had written to me about a matter that he felt was delicate and should be kept in strictest confidence.I then looked at the stamps and for the first time noticed two further details. The stamps had not been cancelled,and one of them had words on it that, to my surprise, I could read. I saw the words
olfgang Amadeus Mozart 
and realised after a moment¶s delay that the words were a name with which I was familiar, and were ³the same´ inItalian as they were in English. As I retrieved myself from this reverie, I wondered how this might be related to what was going on at that mo-ment between the patient and me. The effort to make this shift in psychological state felt like the uphill battle of attempting to ³fight repression´ that I have experienced as I have tried to remember a dream that is slipping away on awakening. In years past, I have put aside such lapses of attention and have endeavoured to devote myself tomaking sense of what the patient was saying since, in returning from such reveries, I am inevitably a bit behindthe patient.I realised I was feeling suspicious about the genuineness of the intimacy that the letter had seemed to convey. My fleeting fantasy that the letter had been part of a bulk mailing reflected a feeling that I had been duped. I felt thatI had been naive and gullible, ready to believe that I was being entrusted with a special secret. I had a number of fragmentary associations, including the image of a mail sack full of letters with stamps that had not been cance-lled, a spider¶s egg sac,
Charlotte¶s message on the cobweb, Templeton the rat, and innocent Wilbur. None of these thoughts seemed to scratch the surface of what was occurring between Mr L and me: I feltas if I were simply going through the motions of counter-transference analysis in a way that seemed forced. As I listened to Mr L (the 45-year old director of a large non-profit agency), I was aware that he was talking in a way that was highly characteristic of him²he sounded weary and hopeless, and yet was doggedly trudging on inhis production of ³free associations´. He had during the entire period of the analysis been struggling mightily toescape the confines of his extreme emotional detachment from himself and from other people. I thought of Mr L¶sdescription of his driving up to the house in which he lives and not being able to feel it was
house. When he walked inside, he was greeted by ³the woman and four children who lived there´, but could not feel they were
 wife and
children. ³It¶s a sense of myself not being in the picture and yet I
there. In that second of recogni-tion of not fitting in, it¶s a feeling of being separate, which is right next to feeling lonely´.I tried out in my own mind the idea that perhaps I felt duped by him and taken in by the apparent sincerity of hiseffort to talk to me. But this idea rang hollow to me. I was reminded of the frustration in Mr L¶s voice as he expla-ined to me again and again that he knew that he must be feeling something, but he did not have a clue as to whatit might be.The patient¶s dreams were regularly filled with images of paralysed people, prisoners, and mutes. In a recent dre-am he had succeeded²after expending an enormous amount of energy²in breaking open a stone and finding hie-roglyphics carved into its interior surfaces, like the markings of a fossil. In the dream, his initial joy was extingui-shed when he realised that he could not understand a single element of the meaning of the hieroglyphics. In thedream, his discovery was momentarily exciting, but ultimately an empty, painfully tantalising experience that lefthim in thick despair. Even the feeling of despair was almost immediately obliterated upon awakening, becoming alifeless set of dream images that he ³reported´ to me (as opposed to telling me). The dream had become a sterilememory and no longer felt alive as a set of thoughts and feelings.I considered the idea that my own experience in the hour might be thought of as a form of projective identifica-tion in which I was participating in the patient¶s experience of the despair of being unable to discern and experi-ence an inner life that seemed to lie behind an impenetrable barrier. This formulation made intellectual sense, but felt clichéd and emotionally lacking. I then drifted into a series of narcissistic, competitive thoughts concern-ing professional matters that began to take on a ruminative quality. These ruminations were unpleasantly interru-pted by the realisation that my car, which was in a repair shop, would have to be collected before 6:00
. whenthe shop closed. I would have to be careful to end the last analytic hour of the day precisely at 5:50 if there were to be any chance at all of my getting to the garage before it closed. I had a vivid image in my mind of myself standing

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