An observation of Antonino Ferro’s discussion

Ferro showed us how to think of the history as a collection of facts or as a dream dreamt by the presenter of the case history. When a patient describes an avoidant attachment to a withdrawn and unresponsive mother, we can think of her as a dead mother. The patient may react by feeling dead or exploding in rage because all the messy, needy feelings of the baby cannot be taken in and metabolized, but return like a boomerang that misses its target and settles in the mind of the baby. The mother is dead to the infant’s need for having its Beta elements taken care of, but since she is alive in general she cannot be mourned. This problem has to come alive in the field for any transformation to occur. In the clinical situation, the person with this history has to find a way in to the field, but has no entry strategy. So the person may shut down and give up trying or may explode into the therapist’s mind, unless the therapist is able to open the door and allow entry. This opening of the door is more effective than making interpretations that penetrate the vulnerable, withdrawn or raging infant mind and are felt as persecutory rather than understanding.

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