This gets even complicated when the person in question is a patient and comes into contact with an analyst who is trying to establish the main cause of the patient’s withdrawal. This retreat, called the…
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Steiner observes that the psychic retreat tends to provide the patient with relative peace (Steiner, 2003). By making use of the novel developments in the psychoanalytic theory of Melanie Klein, Steiner helps us get a better understanding of the psychic retreats.
By examining the organization of object relationships and defences into complex structures leading to a personality and an analysis which is rigid and stuck, Steiner observes that it leads to little opportunity for any development or change. The pathological organization of the personality is determined by these systems of defence, being referred as psychic retreats and they are the ones responsible for the withdrawal by the patient for avoidance of contact with the analyst and with the reality.
Klein’s distinction between paranoid-schizoid and depressive positions provides a strong foundation for reviewing of pathological organizations of the personality. The psychic retreats provide a respite both from the paranoid-schizoid and the depressive anxieties. Based on the paranoid-schizoid and depressive positions enabled Klein to show how the two mental states can impact on the adult. The pathological organization operate as defence against the unbearable guilt and provides a mechanism for reversal of the fragmentation of the personality so as to regain the lost parts of the self and reintegrate it into the personality (Boyle, 2013).
Intolerable feelings of shame, humiliation and embarrassment are dangers exposed to patients coming out of psychic retreat. Out of shame, the patients wish to get revenge on the shaming object as well as the persecutory fears that the shaming object might retaliate. Emergence from the psychic retreat evokes fears of being seen as well as the fear of seeing (Josephs, 2011).
A psychic retreat will manifest itself as freedom from anxiety, but in the real sense, it will result to isolation and alienation from the crowd. As a result, the patient gets the feeling
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