Women’s Lib, Witchcraft, and Sex, continued
In classical clinical psychoanalysis, narcissistic character disorders were believed to be untreatable because of an impenetrable barrier to the establishment of any kind of transference relationship with the analyst. However, as this impenetrable barrier began to be penetrated by investigations into primitive internalized object relations and their role in the treatment of pre‑Oedipal conditions, it was found that this nihilistic belief was, in fact, far from valid. Actually, very strong transferences are established, but these strong transferences also induce strong countertransference reactions in the therapist, and these countertransference reactions tend to interfere with therapy. According to Searles (1979), “The analyst inevitably regresses in the course of the session and will experience the patient as being identified with the so‑called bad mother of the patient’s past. The analyst will inevitably react to the patient as being a very disappointing and enraging unempathetic mother….” However, if the analyst properly understands rage and hate and other negative emotions, and particularly if he or she sees them as disintegration products caused by wounds to self‑esteem, then it is sometimes possible to step out of these negative countertransference reactions or, alternatively, to metabolize them into insight when that is required. Proper use of these negative emotions enables the analyst to mirror the narcissistic character’s emerging personality until the pre‑symbolic stage of mental development is mastered and the client becomes able to appreciate the reality of the symbols involved in interpretation of his productions. When this occurs, the exhibitionistic‑grandiose Self, which has finally been “heard” by its captive audience, can transform into more realistic self‑esteem. This transformation heralds the second stage in the treatment of the narcissistic character disorder, in which the client begins an introspective examination of and investment in the Self.