DRAMATOLOGY IN LIFE, DISORDER, AND PSYCHOANALYTIC THERAPY: A FURTHER CONTRIBUTION TO INTERPERSONAL PSYCHOANALYSIS

Zvi Lothane​

Abstract


Action and interaction, and emotion and thought as the inner well-springs of action, play a central role in the lives of individuals, families, and society, spanning the continuum between everyday life and disorder. Heretofore the narrative tradition has been the main methodology for portraying and formulating human action and interaction and little was written about the dramatic approach to life, disorder, and therapy. Since the essence of drama is action, dialogue, character, and emotion, it is time to give drama its due. The author proposes a methodological concept, dramatology, analogous to narratology, to highlight the dramatic method of investigating action and interaction in life, disorder, and therapy. Breuer and Freud presented both aspects of dramatology: dramatization in dream and fantasy and dramatization in act, focusing on the person. This approach was elaborated by psychoanalysts with an interpersonal orientation,  focusing on the person and speech as action. Dramatology is applied to exploring ongoing patient- therapist interactions as reality and as transference.  Analyzing unconscious and latent dramatization in dream, fantasy, and enactment with free association is enhanced by utilizing clarification and confrontation, focusing on the manifest and mutually observable expressive form and style of actions and enactments, defenses and resistances, and the discharge and meaning of emotions. Dramatology puts forward a new paradigm for psychiatry, psychotherapy, and psychoanalysis.


Key words: dramatology, dramatization, enactment, interpersonal, transference.


Life, or existence, is action, interaction, speaking: it is inherently dramatic, from the Greek rootdran,to act. Lives of persons can be stories of past events, remembered and narrated, or they can bedramatized, i.e., converted into dramas and staged or made into screenplays for film or television. As a literary form, genre, and structure, dramaenactslife, representing it not once removed, as in narration, but directly in the here-and-now, through various dramatis personae acting, emoting, speaking, and gesturing in dramaticscenes. Both drama genres, tragedy and comedy, portray character, misfortune, trauma, and suffering but in different styles: the former is serious and melancholy, e.g., Shakespeare’sHamlet,the latter humorous and farcical, e.g., Molière’sThe Imaginary Invalid.I discussed the importance of comic and humor elsewhere (Lothane, 2008).

          Biblical and Homeric stories were chanted or recited to audiences, Greek and Roman dramas were staged in amphitheaters. With the invention of printing, stories became novels and novellas read by solitary readers. The reader’s relation to the printed page is perceptual and vicariouslyimaginational: he sees the words and “sees,” in his mind’s eye, the scenes depicted by the author. Drama can also be read, but a spectator is a vicariousparticipant: watching a performance on stage makes for immediacy of experiencing and poignancy of emotional involvement. And here is the crucial difference between story telling and drama:a narrative may or may not include dialogue, drama is all dialogue in which stories are also narrated in the dialogue.The latter is also true of the analytic situation.

           In real life and in the psychoanalytic setting the mutual emotional experiencing between the participants is actual, transactional,interpersonal. Art imitates life: “all the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players,” says Shakespeare, a staged illusion of the real. In real life people are neither walking novels nor actors: they are agents in life’s everyday dramas. The psychoanalytic situation is a stage defined by itsframewhere the participants are not merely narrators, dreamers, daydreamers, free-associators, and interpreters, but also concretely, not metaphorically, enactors of the roles of patient and therapist, in reality and transference. Loewald (1975) wrote: “Language—speech—because of its central role in human action, is a dominant element in drama … Language is not merely a means of reporting action, it is itself action … In the course of the psychoanalytic process, narrative is drawn into the context of transference dramatization, into the force-field of re-enactment. … [T]he patient … is speaking from the depth of his memories, which regain life and poignancy by the impetus and urgency of re-experience in the present of the analytic situation” (p. 292-293) -- languageaction, not “action language [which is] more metatheoretical than clinical-theoretical” (Schafer, 1980, p. 83). Similarly, Greenberg (1996) stressed the crucial importance of “the lived experience” (p. 200) as action, underscoring the sea change in technique: “analysts of every theoretical persuasion are focusing their intereston the action-value of words and on the informational value of acts.Acting-in, enactment, interacting, even “resistance” are no longer considered impediments to the analytic process. Instead, they are valued as ways of expressing the patient’s history and transference experience” (p.201; emphasis added). 

Numerous psychoanalytic contributions deal with narrative compared to the few published on drama. Even less has been written about applying the dramatic method to treatment. Literary theorist Tzvetan Todorov (1969) coined the termnarratologyto encompass all narrative forms: fiction and non-fiction, texts historical and scientific. I propose the termdramatology, an existing word but not yet in dictionaries, as a paradigm that refers to (1)dramatization in thought: images and scenes lived in dreams and fantasies and to (2)dramatization in act: in dialogues and other interactions between dramatis personae involved in plots of love and hate, faithfulness and adultery (Freud, 1901a, p. 203-204), ambition and failure, triumph and defeat, fear and death, despair and hope. Dramatology is a methodological concept applicable to interpersonal relationships in health, neurosis, and the analytic situation. Since drama emphasizes emotion, ‘dramatic’ and ‘dramatize’ became colloquialisms connoting a spectrum from striking in appearance and effect to emotionalism deemed excessive or inappropriate, as in ‘theatrical,’ ‘histrionic,’ and ‘melodramatic.

 Dramatology is distinct fromdramaturgyand dramatics, the art of composing and staging drama, as set forth by writers on script analysis for actors and directors. The inner life of characters on stage is expressed through external signs and behaviors, determined both by social conventions and individual acting skills (Olson, 1961). With appropriate scenery, costume, and casting, the meaning of inner life is revealed by the way the actor speaks his lines to express various emotions by voice, gesture, and movement, by intonation and the “music” of speeches, by their tempo and rhythm, the dramatic pauses and silences, all contributing to the mood the words evoke (Styan, 1960), bringing out the emotions in the dialogue as well as the subtexts of the words spoken (Thomas, 1999). By these means the actor reaches “the heart, mind, and body” of his audience not just by dint of identification but by being able to “recognizethe truth of the character” (Waxberg, 1998, p. 93).


Narratology and dramatology at the birth of psychoanalysis

Freud’s revolutionary contribution to description and diagnosis in medicine, psychiatry, and psychoanalysis was the introduction of the patient’s life story, or biographical narrative, as an integral part of the anamnesis (Entralgo, 1956, 1969). Says Freud: “It still strikes me myself as strange that the case histories I write should read like short stories [Novellen] and that, as one might say, they lack the serious stamp of science. I must console myself with the reflection that the nature of the subject is evidently responsible for this rather   than any preference of my own”(Breuer & Freud, 1895, p.160).  Like the proverbial M. Jourdain who did not know he spoke prose, Freud omitted saying that his short stories were narrated dramas, replete with lively patient-doctor dialogue and other interactions, for, contrary to a widespread impression, Freud was an interpersonal therapist from the beginning of his career (Lothane, 1997).  This lacuna was filled by Breuer.

The story of Breuer’s patient Anna O. is a drama of a young woman’s trauma of nursing her moribund father (Breuer and Freud, 1895, pp. 21-47). Conflicted yet unable to refuse the onerous duty, and overwhelmed by emotions of fear and rage, she fell ill with “a psychosis of a peculiar kind” (Breuer and Freud, 1895, p. 22), consistent with traumatic hysteria, in which shedramatizedher distress in the form of terrifying bodily sensations and hallucinations and other peculiar enactments. On the psychological continuum between her pre-morbid state and her illness “she embellished her life in a manner which probably influenced her decisively in the direction of her illness, by indulging in systematic day-dreaming, which she described as her ‘private theatre’, … living through fairy tales in her imagination, … [which] passed over into illness without a break” (p. 32). 

Returning to Vienna after a brief absence Breuer “found the patient much worse.  She had gone entirely without food the whole time, was full of anxiety and her hallucinatoryabsences[French] were filled with terrifying figures, death’s heads and skeletons” (Breuer & Freud, 1895, p. 26). Furthermore, notes Breuer, “da sie diese Dinge durchlebend, sie teilweise sprechendtragierte“ (Breuer & Freud, 1909, p. 20; my italics), as she lived through these things, she partiallydramatizedthese through talking, lost in  Strachey’s translation (SE 2:27); in the 19th centurytragieren meant to compose and perform drama on stage, to act a role, to represent dramatically. Anna O. showed a blend of conscious acting and unconscious dramatization: “Morgen begann dieselbe Szene wieder, wie tags zuvor” (= the next day began with the same scene as in the days before (Breuer & Freud, 1909, p. 21), the word “scene” also lost in Strachey’s translation. Hysteria and histrionics go together, as depicted in the famous 1887 A. Brouillet painting of a demonstration by Charcot at the Salpệtrière in which a swooning Blanche Wittman is seen falling into the arms of Joseph Babinski, which Freud feared might be perceived as “theatrical by ill-disposed strangers” (Freud, 1893, p. 18).

In other scenes Anna O. actedas if– and here the as if is fully justified—she could only speak English because she forgot her German, which, of course, she never did; “forgetting” her German had a purpose: speaking English with Breuer was play-acting intended to ensure the privacy of their conversations. She also staged “laborious ‘recognizing work’” (in English in the original), but not with Breuer, “the only person whom she always recognized when [he] came in” (p. 26).  When “a consultant was brought in, who like all strangers she completely ignored while [Breuer] demonstrated all her peculiarities to him… [and who] in the end succeeded in breaking through [her ‘negative hallucination’] by blowing smoke in her face, … [s]he suddenly … fell unconscious to the ground. There followed a short fit of anger and then a severe attack of anxiety which [Breuer] had great difficulty in calming down” (p. 27). Anna O.  dramatized her fury at both Breuer, for summoning the unsolicited consultant and his rude intervention. A year later, “one morning [in 1882] the patient said to me laughingly that she had no idea what was the matter but she was angry with me: … it was atransferinto the past … she lived through the previous winter day by day … I had annoyed the patient very much on the same evening in 1881” (Breuer, 1895, p. 33; my italics), a reliving of scenes in memories andacting them outin the transference. Freud’s method of the analysis of unconscious and conscious defenses, resistance, and transference was first formulated in the last five pages (301-305) of theStudies on Hysteria.

Anna O. and Breuer each had their own lexicon. She “invented the technical name of ‘clouds’” for “deep hypnosis” (Breuer and Freud, p. 27), the precursor of free association. She called her conversations with Breuer “the talking cure” and “chimney-sweeping”; Dr. Breur called it “a therapeutic technical procedure” and “a process of analysis” (Breuer and Freud, 1895, p. 35), utilizing “abreaction” (p. 14), i.e., catharsis: the  recalling, reliving, and talking of traumatic experiences with full affect to purge pent-up emotions. The patient’s “‘vexations’” were cathartically “talked off” (“abgesprochen” Freud & Breuer 1909, p. 26; SE 2:34), such that the “disorders of vision and hearing of every sort” as well as her “disturbances of speech” were not just narrated but dramatically “talked away” (“wegerzählt”p. 27; SE 2:35). Talking was both the expression of the disorder and the healing of disorder. The life events that caused the  emotional illness were dramatic and so was their enactment, and so was the process of therapy itself, with its speeches and emotions, such as anger and laughter, as present reality of the dialogue and as transference from the past, with its mix of playfulness and seriousness. The above shows the essential consilience between the dramatology of the disorder and the dramatology of the treatment method.

Thecatharticmethod harked back to Aristotle: “A tragedy [...] is the imitation of an action that is serious and also [...] complete in itself [...] in dramatic, not in a narrative form; with incidents arousing pity and fear, wherewith to accomplish catharsis of such emotions” (Aristotle, 1449b, lines 24-29, p. 1460). Freud may have also read about catharsis in the work of the Greek and Latin scholar Jakob Bernays, a great-uncle of his wife Martha: “taken concretely, the wordkatharsishas in Greek one of the two meanings: either lustration, the expiation of sin through certain sacerdotal ceremonies, or the elimination of disease by means of [Hippocratic] purgative medicine” (Bernays, 1880, cited in Entralgo, 1956, p. 53). Purging the emotions would be completed by another kind of purification, as suggested in Plato definition of “psychotherapeutic medicine”: curative “fine words” addressed by the physician to the patient are “capable of producingsophrosyne(temperance, moderation) in the soul of the patient, and thereby the latter may becomekatharos ten psykhen,‘pure in the soul’” (Entralgo, 1956, p. 52). 

Among Anna O.’s dramatic healing devices was her ability to calm herself down by being able “to paint some situation or to tell some story, hesitating at first … till at last she was speaking in correct German. … The stories were always sad and some of them very charming, in the style of Hans Andersen’sPicture book without Pictures[fantasies portraying the charmed world of childhood, 1840]constructed on the same model” (Breuer & Freud, 1895, p. 29). She resorted to two kinds of dramatization: inact, enacted in speeches and gestures in the doctor patient relationship; and infantasy, enacted in the patient’s “theatre of the mind” and uttered in a process of free association, as dreamer, fantasizer, or fabulist. Freud (1900b) utilized such dramatizations when he transformed Breuer’s cathartic method into his own psychoanalytic method in the first paragraph ofThe Interpretation of Dreams: a “psychological technique which makes it possible to interpret dreams as meaningful psychic formations which, at the appropriate place, can be inserted into the mental activities of waking life” (p. 1, my translation) (Freud, 1900a, pp. 100-104). 


Dramatology in Freud: dramatization in dream and in fantasy

 Already defined by Aristotle as thoughts of those that sleep, dreams become an interpersonal experience when told to another person. Dreams (and day dreams) represent ideas and emotions in mental pictures, or images, which Freud called “representability” and “dramatization.”  While asleep with eyes shut, we vividly ‘see,’ i.e., hallucinate, dream scenarios, in white and black and in color: “Dreams … think predominantly in visual images, but not exclusively.…The transformation of ideas into hallucinations is not the only respect in which dreams differ from waking life. Dreams construct asituationout of these images, represent something as an event happening in the present, … theydramatizean idea … [I]n dreams … we appear not tothinkbut toexperience… we attach complete belief to the hallucinations. Not until we wake up does the critical comment arise that … we have merely been thinking in a particular way” (Freud, 1900a, pp. 49-50=1900b, p. 52-53; first italics by Strachey, second in the original and without single quotations marks; third and fourth italics by Strachey). Freud quotes Hildebrandt on “the dramaticdepiction[Darstellungsweise] in dreams” (1900b, p. 72; my translation and italics). In a later text Freud defines again: “the transformation of thoughts into situations (‘dramatization’) is the most peculiar and important characteristic of dream work” (Freud, 1901b, p. 653).  Such transformation also takes place in “dream symbolism [that] extends far beyond dreams but exercises a similar dominating influence on representation in fairy-tales, myths and legends, in jokes and in folk-lore. … Dream symbolism in all probability [is] a characteristic of the unconscious thinking which provides the dream work with the material for condensation, displacement, anddramatization” (Freud, 1901b, 685; my italics; see Freud, 1925, p. 45). Seven years earlier Freud (1894) had written about transformation: the ubiquity of “transposition,” “conversion” and “displacement” (p. 54, 60) of sexual and other emotions and ideas into the many dramas of neurosis.

            While sleep is a condition of body and brain, “the dream,” said Freud (1901b), “is the dreamer’sown psychological activity” (= “Der Traum dieeigene psychische Leistungdes Träumers ist, 1900b, p.645; my translation, italics Freud’s), which Strachey renders, omitting Freud’s emphasis of the person, as “the dream is the product of the dreamer’s own mind” (Freud, 1901c, p. 633). The crucial psychological fact in dream dramatization is that the dreamer is apassiveobserver of dream experiences emerging into consciousness as the manifest content of memory, fantasy, and emotions, isfascinated,enthralled by his experiences, suspending critical self-reflection, reality testing, and insight. The only method capable of unlocking the latent content and meaning of the dream is free association, a process taking place in a state of mind that is not a goal-oriented effort but an effortless attention, hovering freely and evenly over the emerging stream of consciousness, fostering a temporary regression from secondary to primary process thinking, emoting and visualizing (Freud 1900a, pp. 100-104). In 1913 Freud enjoins the analysand to “say whatever goes through your mind … as though…you were a traveller sitting next to the window of a railway carriage and describing to someone inside the carriage the changing views which you see outside” (p. 135) and describes his own activity: “while I am listening to the patient, I, too, give myself over to the current ofmy unconscious thoughts…” (p. 134; my italics). Such reciprocal free association was “intended to create for the doctor a counterpart to the 'fundamental rule of psycho-analysis' which is laid down for the patient” (Freud, 1912a, p. 115), completed by anethicalinjunction: full candor for the patient and integrity for the analyst. These ideas were further elaborated by Isakower (Wyman & Rittenberg, 1992), McLaughlin (1975), and Reiser (1999), and myself (Lothane, 1983, 1984, 1994, 2006).

It all has to do with the pictorial, plastic and scenic nature of dreaming, stemming from the pictorial nature ofimagination(Einbildung,fromBild=picture), its ability to “paint” the content in pictures (Freud, 1900, p. 84=GWp. 88; see also Freud, 1900, pp. 225, 367, 410, 428), perhaps echoing Plato’s word for imagination, the painter (zoographos)and thus the reciprocal evocative activity between the two persons immersed in the process and alternating as speaker and listener. In this process images emerging in oneevokecorresponding images in the other and identification, intuition, and insight are born.  From the mutual immersion in theaters of the mind we now move to theaters of enactment and interaction. In his analysis of dreams and delusion in Jensen’s novellaGradiva(1907; Lothane, in press), Freud notes that the dream is an “Inszenieung,” a dramatization, or staging, a theater simile, of many thoughts (SE, 59=GW, 86), and transition to dramatization in act, referring to the psychodrama therapy conducted by the heroine as a “procedure … [that] shows a far-reaching similarity—no, a complete agreement in essence—with a therapeutic method which was introduced into medical practice in 1895 by Dr. Josef Breuer and myself, and to the perfection of which I have since devoted myself” (1907, 88-87).  

Dramatology in Freud: dramatization in act

As art, drama is an imitation of the real dramas of life in health and disease. Hallowed by the medical model, we speak of ‘symptoms’ of neurosis, as if it were a disorder of the body, while Freud redefined neurosis psychologically as a continuum between health and disease: “symptoms--and of course we are dealing with psychical (or psychogenic) symptoms and psychical illness--areactsdetrimental, or at least useless, to the subject's life as a whole . . . 'being ill' is in its essence a practical concept...you might well say that we areallill--that is, neurotic -- since the preconditions for the formation of symptoms can also be observed in normal people” (Freud, 1916-1917, 358; my italics). Eventually he emphasized thesociologicaldimension of human conduct: “in the individual mental life someone else is invariably involved, as model, an object, as a helper or an opponent; and so from the very first individual psychology ... is at the same time social psychology as well” (Freud, 1921, p. 69), with dramatological implications. 

Writing to Fliess in 1897 Freud (1950) underscored the affinity between daydreams, myths, and “dramas of destiny”: “falling in love with the mother and jealousy of the father …I now regard … as a universal event of early childhood … ofOedipus Rex… Each member of the audience was once, in germ and in phantasy, just such an Oedipus. … the same thing may … lie at the bottom ofHamletas well” (p. 265).  Freud (1916-1917) revisited Sophocles two decades later: “many people have dreamt of lying with their mothers … [the spectator] reacts as though by self-analysis he had recognized the Oedipus complex in himself (pp. 330-331). … Rank [The Incest Motif in Poetry and Saga, 1912] has shown that dramatists of every period have chosen their material from the Oedipus and incest complex and its variations and disguises … [and] Encyclopaedist Diderot [in] …Le Neveu de Rameau” (p. 337). Real life dramas reveal the same secret truth. Gunnar Brandell (1979) has shown how much Freud’s method owed to literature and in particular Ibsen’s dramas (see also Lothane,

The year Freud (1905a) published the Dora Case he also (1942) wrote on “psychopathic characters on the stage”: “Since Aristotle the purpose of drama is to arouse ‘terror and pity’, and so ‘to purge the emotions, … of opening up sources of pleasure or enjoyment in our emotional life, just asjokingor fun opening up similar sources… The prime factor is unquestionably the process of getting rid of one’s own emotions by ‘blowing off steam’ …the consequent enjoyment corresponds … to an accompanyingsexualexcitation” (p. 305; my italics). These remarks are linked to two other cardinal ideas works of that year, psychosexuality (1905b) and humor (1905c).He focuses on the psychology of the spectator of the theatrical show (Schauspiel,Schau=show,Spiel=play): “the playwright and the actor enable [the spectator]to identify himselfwith a hero” (p. 305), to gain “an enjoyment … based on an illusion” (p. 306), a vicarious compensation for his own unheroic life filled with suffering, for “suffering on stage … is only a game, which can threaten no damage to his personal security” (p. 306). Compared to “lyric poetry [and] epic poetry,… drama seeks to explore emotional possibilities more deeply and to give an enjoyable shape even to … suffering and misfortune … as happens in tragedies” (p. 306) In drama, “mental suffering [occurs] in connection with some … event out of which the illness shall arise. … Some plays, such as theAjaxand thePhiloctetes,introduce the mental illness as already established. … It is easy to give an exhaustive account of the preconditions governing an event of the kind that is here in question.It must be an event involving conflict and it must include an effort of will together with resistance” (pp. 307-308; my italics). It cannot be emphasized enough: the factor of conflict, one of the pillars of Freud’s psychoanalytic method, is his indisputably novel addition to the classical definitions of drama since Aristotle. 

            Freud delineated five kinds of drama: (1)religious drama,“a struggle against divinity, … a rebellion in which the dramatist and the audience take the side of the rebel” (p. 307); (2)social drama, the “hero’s …struggle … against human society” in “the excitement of an ‘agon’[contest] …best played out between outstanding characters that have freed themselves from the bond of human institutions, … (in Ibsen for instance)” (p. 308); (3)The tragedy of character,“a struggle of individual men” (p. 308), most often fused with the preceding; (4)psychological drama,where “the struggle that causes the suffering is fought out in the hero’s mind itself – a struggle between different impulses” (p. 308). Moreover, “combinations of any kind … are possible. … And this is where we have tragedies of love, the suppression of love by social culture, by human conventions, or the struggle between ‘love and duty’, … the starting point of almost endless varieties of situations of conflict: just as endless, in fact, as the erotic day-dreams of men” (p. 308), i.e., conflicts of conscience. Freud (1916) is explicit about the “forces of conscience,” long before he coined the term super-ego, resulting in “judging and punishing trends” (1916, p. 318), applied to analyzing the characters of Lady Macbeth and Ibsen’s Rebecca Kroll and to “criminals from a sense of guilt” (p. 332).Thus, tragic mankind is also guilty mankind.

            The zenith is reached with (5)psychopathological drama,…between a conscious impulse and a repressed one” (p. 308): the “repressed impulse [of regicide, i.e., parricide] is one of those which are similarly repressed in all of us … is shaken up by the situation in the play” (p. 309). Thus, “it would seem to be the dramatist’s business to induce the same illness inus; and this can best be achieved if we are made to follow the development of the illness along with the sufferer” (p. 310). To this Freud could have added the idea of anagnorisis, or recognition, in the mind of the tragic hero leading to denouement, or resolution, a process paralleling insight. Here Freud shifts from dramaturgy to dramatology, conjoining drama with the psychoanalytic method.

In revisiting the Dora Case (1905a), originally titled “dreams and hysteria,” that could have just as aptly been subtitled dreams anddramasof hysteria, my purpose is not to reanalyze Dora, a subject of a sizable secondary literature, but to underscore theformaldramatic features of the interactions. Freud was surprised that “the factor of ‘transference’ did not come up for discussion during the short treatment” (p. 13). Only when Dora abruptly terminated the analysis did Freud realize, with a twinge of self-reproach, that “the transference took [him] unawares” (p. 118) and got dramatic: “She took her revenge on me as she wanted to take her revenge on [Herr K.], and deserted me as she believed herself to have been deceived and deserted by him. Thus sheacted out[sie agierte] an essential part of her recollections and fantasies instead of reproducing it in treatment” (p.119; italic Freud’s), thereby “demonstrating the helplessness and incapacity of the physician” (p. 120). ‘Agieren,’ from the Latinagere,to act,agirin French,can mean:  doing, acting a role in a play, reverberating with Breuer’s ‘tragieren,’overdetermined consciously and unconsciously. Dora’s termination was her own decisive action in reality, blessed by Freud: “You know that you are free to stop the treatment at any time” (p. 105).Dora’s family drama was replete with scenes of seductions, sexual affairs, intrigues of infidelity, love barters and betrayals, enabled Freud to write as “a man of letters engaged in the creation of a mental state like this for a short story, instead of being a medical man engaged upon its dissection … But in the world of reality, which I am trying to depict here, a complication of motives, an accumulation and conjunction of mental activities –in a word, an overdetermination-- is the rule” (pp. 59-60). Dora was a real person, dressing, looking, and acting the spirited eighteen- year-old and Freud duly acknowledged that “it follows from the nature of the facts which form the material of psychoanalysis that we are obliged to pay as much attention in our case histories to the purely human and social circumstances of our patients as to the somatic data and the symptoms of the disorder. Above all, our interest will be directed towards their family circumstances…” (p. 18). Hysteria becomes family drama, technique is tailored to the individual.

In therapy, a real life situation, the Aristotelian unity of action, place, and time is both literal and real, not just a theatrical convention. Also real, not metaphorical, were Dora’s dramatic duels with Freud, as reality and as the theater of transference. Dora, “a girl of intelligent and engaging looks” (p. 23) and “sharp-sighted” (p. 34) fires “arguments,” “rejoinders”  “objections” and “contradictions”; Freud, just as sharp in his rejoinders, while not feeling justified “to attack” her thoughts, nevertheless repeatedly confronts Dora, for “to make an omelet you  have to break the eggs” (p. 49). Freud reflected on his ethical conflict: “Might I perhaps have kept the girl under my treatment if I myself had acted a part, if I had exaggerated the importance to me of her staying on, and had shown a warm personal interest in her—a course which, even after allowing for my position as her physician, would have been tantamount to providing her with a substitute for the affection she longed for? I do not know” (p.109). He should have known better: Dora was important to him and Freud was not loyal enough to her: he should have confronted her less with seducing Herr K. at age fourteen and more with not dating a boy her age at eighteen. Dora dramatized her conflict with Freud, as other women before her; but here confrontation, contest (agon), and combat occupied center stage: she acted and acted out. Hence the new conception of analysis as a transference drama played out between two protagonists turned antagonists, in which “this latest creation of the disease must becombatedlike the earlier ones. This happens, however, to be by far the hardest part of the whole task. It is easy to learn how to interpret dreams, to extract from the patient’s associations his unconscious thoughts and memories, and topractice similar explanatory arts: for these the patient will always provide the text” (1905, p. 116; my italics). Interpretation alone is no longer sufficient: “since a whole series of psychological experiences are revived not as belonging to the past but as applying to the physician at the present moment” (p. 116), since “all the patient’s tendencies, including hostile ones, are aroused” (p.117), explanation needs to be amplified by confrontation. In this way, “transference, which seems ordained to be the greatest obstacle of psycho-analysis” (p. 117), became a crisis, a challenge, and an opportunity.

The dramatology of the analytic situation is continued in Freud’s 1912-1915 papers on technique, where military metaphors point to dramatic confrontations. It is no longer a matter of pursuing explanatory arts, it become a continuing confrontation: “This struggle,” writes Freud, “between the doctor and the patient, between intellect and instinctual life, between understanding and seeking to act, is played out almost exclusively in the phenomena of transference. It is on that field that the victory must be won –the victory whose expression is the permanent cure of the neurosis. … For when all is said and done, it is impossible to destroy anyonein absentiaorin effigie” (Freud, 1912b, p. 108), in absence or effigy, for “the [transference] resistances determine the sequence of the material which is to be repeated. The patient brings out of the armory of the past the weapons with which he defends himself against the progress of the treatment  --   weapons which we must wrest from him one by one” (Freud, 1914, p. 151).

No less real than dramas of aggression are those due to temptations of the flesh and the danger they pose for both protagonists in the theater of therapy. Freud’s ethics are Hippocratic: “[The analyst] has evoked this [sexual] love by instituting analytic treatment in order to cure the neurosis … he must not derive any personal advantage from it. … For the doctor, ethical motives unite with the technical ones to restrain him from giving the patient his love. The treatment must be carried out in abstinence. By this I do not mean physical abstinence alone, nor yet the deprivation of everything that the patient desires, for perhaps no sick person could tolerate this” (1915, p. 169). While not as explicit as Ferenczi’s heir Balint (1965) about primary love and psychoanalytic technique, Freud differentiated needs, modes of gratification, and kinds of love, sexuality vs. tenderness,erosvs.agapeandphilia: “the doctor, in his educative work, makes use of one of the components of love. In this work of after-education, … love is the great educator; and it is by the love of those nearest him that the incomplete human being is induced to respect the decrees of necessity and to spare himself the punishment that follows any infringement of them” (Freud, 1916, p. 312). Love is the great container: it frames the dramatic-psychoanalytic encounter and allows for living and confronting that drama and analyzing the conscious and unconscious elements of acting and acting out as aspects of reality and transference.


Other writers on drama

An early exponent of the dramatic conception was the Hungarian-French Marxist philosopher Georges Politzer (1903-1942) who argued (1928) that life is both biological and “properly human,the dramatic life of mankind.All the characteristics of this dramatic life are suitable to be studied scientifically” (p. 23; my translation, italics in the original), that all psychology should be viewed as dramatic, a feat that has only been achieved by psychoanalysis.  Critical of “classical psychology” for its inability to understand the concrete phenomenon of dreaming, Politzer extolled the singular achievement of psychoanalysis where the “I” of psychology cannot but be aparticular individual. … Thus, an act of a concrete individual is hislife, the singular life of a single individual,life in the dramatic sense of the word.… Classical psychology seeks to replace the personal drama by an impersonal one, the drama whose actor is the concrete individual,who is a real person,by a drama whose actors aremythological creatures: ultimately, an abstraction amounts to claiming anequivalence of both these dramas,to insist that the impersonal drama, the “true” one, explains the personal drama, which is only an “apparent” one. The ideal of classical psychology is to investigate dramas that are purely ‘conceptual’ ” (p. 61-62; italics in the original).

Politzer’s ideas were elaborated by the Argentinian psychoanalyst José Bleger (1963). Omitting the Marxist glosses in both authors leaves their dramatology undisturbed.  Bleger (1963) argued that whereas “psychoanalysis is born and develops in a concrete operational field, …there is in psychoanalysis a growing disconnect between theory and practice … between dynamics and dramatics. The dynamic point of view in psychoanalytic theories no longer reflects the dramatic reality”(p. 111-112; my translation).  However, it is the “dramatics that constitute the central nucleus of Freud’s new psychology. The dramatics of the person have been replaced by the dynamics of instinctual drives” (115), or by “neurophysiology,” amounting to a dethroning of the person as the center of the drama, or, a denial of ‘the-here-now-with-me’” (p. 123), to terminate in “mytho-psychology” (p. 121). In the chapter “the psychoanalytic session,” a situation “defined by itsframeand roles assigned to the two persons,” Bleger contrasted the difference between the role of the analyst as “a ‘pure’ observer, … as a receptive screen” (pp. 134-135) with the reality of the dramatic “human encounter” (p. 138), of the “bipersonal relationship” (p.141; italics in the original),  such that “counter-transference is no longer a disturbing element (subject to certain limitations) but passes into an active, operating, integrating participation that plays its inevitable role in that synthesis called interpretation” (p. 145). Bleger also called his method “situational analysis” (p. 148; italics in the original), in which the dynamics were completed by the dramatics, enabling a better understanding of the specific conducts, or behaviors, in the situation. In 1967 Bleger emphasized that “the psycho-analytic situation … includes phenomena which make up a process and which is studied, analysed and interpreted; but it also includes aframeas a ‘non-process’ in the sense that it represents theconstants, within whose limits the process occurs” (1967, p. 517; my italics).

McDougall (1985) reformulated Anna O.’s “private theater”: “the theater as a metaphor for psychic reality” (p. 3); this could be both truth and illusion, a (1) theory of disorder and (2) a theory of the analytic situation. She theorized about an “inner theater where neurosis and the delusional plots of psychosis are staged,” paralleled by “another theater whose performances go on the world’s stage … to externalize intolerable inner dramas … [as] complicated dramas commonly called character neuroses” (p. 65), “all await[ing] production on the analytic stage” (p. 17).

Simon (1988) showed the intimate affinity between drama and psychoanalysis, “how and why tragic drama is so much concerned with the family” (p. ix), how “murder, suicide, incest, betrayal, abandonment are—as a contemporary sitcom has it—“all in the family,” (p. 1), the “warfare within the family” (p. 26). Simon applied this interpersonal dramatic to psychopathology in its varieties, the infantile and the adult, and to the “various solutions and resolutions of the problem of living among one’s own kind, the problem of the survival of the family. Psychoanalytic theory … has also examined various formulations and “solutions” to the same  problematic” (p. 253).

Modell (1990), echoing Bleger, underscored the “psychoanalytic setting as a frame” (p. 30) in which “reality set-off and demarcated from ordinary life,… paradoxical in that the essence of play [is] its freedom and spontaneity, but it is a freedom that must occur within certain constraints,” or “restraints,”, i.e., “restrained by the ‘rules of the game’” (p. 27). He also cited Winnicott: “psychotherapy takes place in the overlap between two areas of playing, that of the patient and that of the therapist” (p. 29), thus closer to action.

Loewald (1975) addressed the “fantasy character of the psychoanalytic situation … a re-enactment, a dramatization of aspects of the patient’s psychic life history, created and staged in conjunction with, and directed by, the analyst” (pp. 278-279). In  “transference neurosis … psychoanalysis shares important features with dramatic art … [with its] make-believe aspect, [in whose] promotion and development … analyst and patient conspire in the creation of an illusion, a play … Patient and analyst in a sense are co-authors of the play. … The specific impact of a play depends on its being experienced both asactualityand as a fantasy creation” (pp. 279-280; my italics). Loewald combines dramatization in act and in fantasy, patient and analyst work as a team in the theater of transference and both are interpreters. The analyst also embodies the function of the Greek chorus: he is a voice of conscience, imparting words of wisdom.

Nuetzel (1999), applying the metaphors of Shakespeare and Mc Dougall, noted that “in the clinical psychoanalytic process knowing involvesshowing along with telling, it shouldn't be too surprising that psychoanalysts today frequently use theatrical metaphors in describing their work. Phrases like 'the analytic stage' and 'the theatre of the mind' have become commonplace in analytic writing” (p. 294-295; my italics).  He drew parallels between feelings in the analysand (erotic, friendly, hostile), the feeling tone of the transference (warm rapport, love, hate, fear), whereby the analyst is cast into various roles (friend, lover, rival, enemy) (p. 305). 

Following Freud (1901), Scheibe (2000) applied role theory to everyday psychopathology (pp 5-6). Psychoanalytic family therapist Sander (2001) cited Simon’s dictum that “‘both tragic drama and the best of psychoanalytic thinking are so rich that there is a mutual enhancement, a two-way dialogue’ (Simon, 1988, p. 10)” (p. 286). Sander noted Moreno’s (1959) analogy between theater and psychodrama, and argued for “an expanded psychoanalytic theory by including an interpersonal perspective to complement our intrapsychic model” (p. 283). Family therapy and group therapy could fairly be seen as using techniques consonant with dramatology. Coleman’s (2004) book is an inspired synthesis of unconscious processes, narratives, poetics, linguistics and neuroscience, with attention to drama and film, focusing on the rhetorical “inner theater” (2004, p. 300) of fantasy, memory and metaphor.      


Dramatology in the analytic situation

In the theater art imitates life; in the theater of the psychoanalytic situation life imitates art.  The word “scene” is listed 564 times in Freud’s psychological works (Guttman, 1984) and “scenes” 228 times, referring to dramatic situations in life and in therapy.

While therapy becomes a person’s parallel life for some time, there are differences between life and therapy: falling in love in real life is fraught with real decisions and consequences; in the therapeutic relations, the emotions may be as strong and as genuine as in real life, but the therapeutic situation as such is an artificial one, in it the analysand’s dreams and transferences enactments are just that, experienced but not acted upon, like stage murders where no one is killed and  blood is red paint. However, at the end of therapy both participants may be changed psychologically: the analysand grows in maturity, the analyst in his professional skills.  

            Agents in real life and actors on stage impersonating real life characters have this in common: they are seen and heard in the flesh, they present external appearances of social status, ethnic, economic, and cultural background, dress, accent, bodily and facial expression, and action, in short, of unique personhood. It is one thing to listen to the disembodied words of an unseen patient presented at a case conference, or to listen to a tape recording of a session, or read its transcript: it is quite another for the two participants in therapy to interact face to face of face, or from the couch, reflecting the diversity of the physical, psychical, and dramatic constellations involved.

The drama of the therapeutic encounter has a profound effect on analytic process and work. The analyst’s interpretations do not take place in a semantic vacuum of the meaning of words, both persons confront each other as the real people that they are: both are working together to discover the meaning of the patient’s individual life drama, to make sense of it. Therefore, the analyst’s interpretations will be affected and shaped by the personality of the patient just as much as the patient is affected by the personality of the analyst. In this encounter confrontation enhances interpretation. The dramatic encounter between the patient and therapist is not staged: it evolves between real and unique persons, alternating between speaking and listening. Their dialogues are symmetrical informbut are asymmetrical infunction(Withaeuper et al., 2004). It is only the patient who bares his soul in his associations; the listening analyst will also reveal his soul, but even his occasional enactments will be shaped by analytic judgment and his ethical responsibility for maintaining the frame. The patient is allowed to act out within limits, the analyst is not. Within the frame, both participants will be subject to transfer of emotions due to a reciprocally unconscious immersion in the process. Loewenstein (1956) delineated three emotional functions of speech acts in the analytic situation: “thefunction of representation… the knowledge and description of things and objects and the connections between them; thefunction of expression,by which the speaker expresses something about himself; thefunction of appeal, encompassing all those speech acts which appeal to the addressee to do something or to respond in some way; e.g. imploring, commanding, forbidding, seducing etc.” (p. 461-462). Interpersonal theory and dramatology address the emotional needs of both participants and enhance the heuristics of communication, as illustrated in the following vignette. 

Mr. M. age 40, married and father of two, a successful lawyer, has been an ongoing analysis for 10 years. He suffered from a character disorder with anxieties verging on panic, alternating with depressions. He described himself as “hypocritical, arrogant, paranoid, vain, envious and passive,” often overwhelmed by poorly controlled rage. He had difficulties with authority figures, was competitive with and envious of peers, suffered from low self-esteem, “resented growing up,” in love with himself as a winsome child. His self-love was fueled by “a powerful dependence and identification with mom who constantly undermined father’s authority, resulting in his becoming a mama’s boy, a sissy, with disrespect and contempt for authority.”  He repeatedly demanded to have his dependent wishes gratified by me, to be admired as my “best patient.” He fantasized being a girl and taken care of, was envious and resentful of his wife’s financial dependence on him. He identified with father’s love of objects, the sports car and gun collection, which he felt “father loved more than me.” Like father, he “loves toys and gadgets.” He once scratched father’s car, incurring his wrath. He feared father’s alcoholic binges resulting in frequent bellowing and raging and constant quarrels with mother. They divorced when he was ten, he stayed with mother. He retained vengeful hostility towards father, collected grievances for hurts he suffered from him as a child and now unable to confront his father with this painful past, fearing retaliation.

As a child and adolescent he used “to manipulate and lie, cheat and steal – lying was a way to preserve power vis-à-vis my parents. Lying served to protect myself from feeling small and completely powerless. It led to lying to myself, to self-deception.”  Moreover, “panic and passivity were my defenses to get my parents to pay attention to me.” He taunted me repeatedly. The analytic frame was maintained, utilizing free association, dream, day dream and transference analysis, interpretation and working through. 

            A dramatic scene occurred at the midpoint of the analysis. Early one morning the patient was drinking a cup of coffee in the waiting room. As I walked in, I observed the cup and him in the act of vigorously rubbing the sofa. The following dialogue ensued:

T(herapist): I see you spilled coffee on the sofa and stained it.

P(atient): (agitated) No, I did not!

T: I saw you cleaning.

P: (sheepishly) Well, I guess I did.

T: (calmly) Come in and let us discuss it further.

After he settled down on the couch:

      P: Spilling the coffee was a mistake, I did not do it on purpose.

      T: However, you damaged something of mine and you owe for the cleaning.   

 P: (more agitated). No f…ing way!  It's a piece of junk anyway, and I already pay   you thousands of dollars a year, and you don't even give your patients a nice waiting room. If you had more room out there, I wouldn't have bumped the coffee. You really don't care about your patients with that decrepit, crappy old waiting room.  And by the way, that sofa is so stained and disgusting anyway.

 T: (evenly) Let us explore this as your acting out.

 P: (starting to reflect) Well, after our last session, I had this fight with my dad last night and I wanted to kill him.  I really didn't want to get up and come

here this morning, so spilling the coffee might have been related to

the fight I had.

This scene was traumatic for us both: his shock of being found out, my felt anger over damage tomyobject. I was a container for his anger and mine.  Intuitively and with projective identification the patient found a chink in my armor: I am also a father of a child who often tried my patience, this was my counter-identification (Grinberg, 1962; Cassorla, 2001; Steiner, 2003).  The acting out of the unconscious hostility against father facilitated the exploration and working through of his character defenses of denial, manipulation, and self-absorption. He gained a new sense of conviction: “it was a real-life, current-day touchstone for my unwillingness to take responsibility for my actions and my neurotic relationship with my father. It became a major turning point in my understanding of myself. When I spilled the coffee, I had a feeling at once of guilt, of great panic and great joy. Panic, in that I knew I had done something to harm a lovely object, and a sense of joy that I sullied something of the doctor’s which I imagined he loved, much the same way as I had fantasized sullying my father’s collectibles that he had always prevented me from touching as a child and which caused me great rage.”

Subsequently “the scene resurfaced in many vivid dreams I started having the night the incident happened and the weeks that followed. I had dreams about mangling myself, other objects, fears of losing control, not unlike the old fears of going crazy.  Here is an example of a particularly scary dream. I was walking down a deserted street only to be set upon by members of a violent gang.  By investigating this dream that arose in direct proximity to the sofa incident, I began to gain insight into my own anger that I had, for most of my life, framed as a continual state of victimhood where others, like the gang that tried to attack me in my dream, were out to cause me harm. When I had spilled coffee on the sofa, I had immediately denied the act when confronted by you and the feeling was as if I were the victim, and not the perpetrator of the mess.” The patient understood how his unconscious processing of the world came to actually impact his current behavior.

Additional childhood memories emerged. “I remembered the time when I got car sick and threw up on my father’s fancy car, and he yelled at me. Through this interaction I learned about the meaning of personal responsibility, accountability for one's actions, and the stress-reducing benefits of facing the truth and telling the truth.” The upsurge of new memories enabled maturation. He sat down with both parents and for the first time confronted them with anger bottled up for decade, resulting in a friendlier and more mature relationship with them. He continues to overcome hatred, including hatred in the transference, to love less ambivalently including the analyst, feel compassion and love towards his father. He shows growing improvement in relating to his wife, peers and superiors, and is advancing in his career. As an interpersonal enactment, with its conscious and unconscious elements, the scene was rich in emotional and ethical insights, providing growth for us both.


Discussion: with Freud and beyond Freud

Dramatology underscores the centrality of communicative action and interaction, both verbal and nonverbal, as it pertains to behaviors in life and disorder. We work not withmonadicsymptoms, as in the medical model, but withdyadicand reciprocal communications in words, gestures, enactments.  Freud knew that “symptoms--and of course we are dealing with psychical (or psychogenic) symptoms and psychical illness--areactsdetrimental, or at least useless, to the subject's life as a whole . . . 'being ill' is in its essence a practical concept...you might well say that we areallill--that is, neurotic -- since the preconditions or the formation of symptoms can also be observed in normal people” (Freud, 1916-1917, p. 358; emphasis added). Feud’s dyadic approach was expressed via the concept ‘social’: “in the individual mental life someone else is invariably involved, as model, an object, as a helper or an opponent; and so from the very first individual psychology ... is at the same time social psychology as well” (Freud, 1921, p. 69).

          By the 1980’s the concept of acting out was enlarged by that of enactment. Dora acted out instead of remembering, said Freud, while he supposedly remained an unmoved mover, a “neutral” observer from above. But acting outisa form ofunconsciousremembering, until analyzed. Outside therapy enactment means dramatization; in therapy, enactment is applied to both participants, so “that close scrutiny of the interpersonal behaviors shaped between the pair will provide clues and cues leading to latent intrapsychic conflicts and residues” of the analysand (McLaughlin, 1991, p. 600). Chused (1991) linked interpersonal enactment with dramatization. She reaffirmed that “communication is always a two-person procedure; what is intended to be said is altered by the person and the context in which the information is received.  When patient or analyst speak, the meaning and intent of the words is altered by how the other hears him, altered for the speaker as well as for the listener. If an analyst accepts the inevitability of his contribution to enactments and analyzes them to separate his participation from the patient's understanding of his participation, to distinguish the determinants based on his psychology from those arising from the patient's, the work can only be enhanced” (p. 617).  Chused illustrated how “much of a child’s communication is through action,” how she “felt as if [she] were part of a stage set for a movie,” how her patient “was given to emotional storms, which were made more dramatic by their unpredictability” (p. 618),  how she “dramatize[d] conflicts and wishes in play rather than speaking about them directly, … [how] she also “played” to an audience (me) and the manner in which she “played” was determined by the response she wished to elicit from me” (p.  628), how she “slipped into her ‘actress mode,’ over-dramatizing scenes and events” (p. 630), and how the analyst was “susceptible to the primitive, dramatic quality of [the patient’s] behavior” (p. 632). Clearly, such propensities are not limited to children, as amply demonstrated in my own case. Chused put all these dramas to good use in being able to achieve a “new depth of understanding of the conflict, fantasy, and memory,” because “enactments result from a communication via unconscious clues” (p. 633), for “unlike repetitions [of acting out], in which it is the patient who repeats and the analyst who witnesses, in an enactment both analyst and patient are participants” (p. 636). 

             It is here that the relational approach (Aron, 2003) and dramatology make an important contribution. Aron’s (2003) distinction that “some interactions stand out as … enactments with a capital E, set apart from the ongoing (small e) enactments that we understand constitute all psychoanalytic process. … [the former] … are times of high risk and high gain for both patient and analyst” (p. 624) fits dramatology.  Life is largely made up of small d dramas, while capital D high dramas are the rare, momentous and memorable events in a relationship, including the analytic relationship. Thus there are two kinds of enactment: (1) unconscious acting that belongs to the patient, who reenacts by remembering, repeating and working through, and (2) the dramatic and reciprocal enactment with the analyst, both conscious and unconscious.  

      Political drama happens in real life and it can be staged as social drama, both progressing from confrontation, an actual clash between dramatis personae as agents, passing to climax and to resolution. Freud confronted Dora, Jacobs (1986) “confronted” his patient, I confronted mine. Greenson (1967) defined: “At least four distinct procedures are included or subsumed under the heading of “analyzing”:confrontation, clarification, interpretation,andworking through” (p. 97). Quoting Reich (1928) on character defenses and resistances, Greenson recommended that “the resistance must be demonstrable and the patient must be confronted with it. Then the particular or precise detail of the resistance has to be placed into sharp focus.Confrontationandclarificationare necessary adjuncts to interpretation and have been recognized as such ever since our knowledge of ego functions has increased” (p. 98). Character analysis was discussed by Withaeuper, Bouchard, and Rosenbloom (2004), who also cited Reich. Defenses and resistance become demonstrable when dramatized, acted out and enacted, at times in a stormy fashion.  Here, too, dramatology renders an important service to psychoanalytic work.  Dramatology does not displace narratology but completes it by providing a more penetrating vision of interactions in life, disorder and therapy, and a treatment technique that encompasses the person as dreamerandas a moral and social agent in the various arenas of life.  

Conclusion

Dramatology addresses the essence of life and therapy as an interaction between people engaged in dialogue, emotion, gesture, and all forms of communicative behavior. In common parlance dramatic can mean varying degrees of actions and effects sudden and striking, exciting and intense, or powerfully expressive. From the perspective of the psychoanalytic method and work, dramatic and dramatology mean live dialogue in the here and now. I argue for the primacy of dramatology for the psychoanalytic situation. Dramatology represents a new challenge to the psychoanalytic method. Given this living reality, the aliveness of interaction, dramatology confronts the deadness of psychiatric descriptive phenomenology (à la Kraepelin and Jaspers), psychiatric diagnoses (DSM-IV, ICD-10), and dynamic formulas (Freud, Jung and other schools). This may seem a radical stance and it is. I do not deny, however, the legitimacy of description, diagnosis, or dynamics, only underscore the fact that that description, diagnosis and dynamics address different activities and goals as compared to dramatology. Freud offered the following recommendation:


It is not a good thing to work on a case scientifically while treatment is  still proceeding -- to piece together its structure, to try to  foretell its further progress, and to get a picture from time to  time of the current state of affairs, as scientific  interest would  demand (Freud, 1912a, SE 12:114).


The goals of working scientifically in describing and diagnosing, be it for the purpose of scientific studies, forensic expertises, reports to insurance companies and other agencies for reimbursement for services rendered, statistics scientific and actuarial, drug efficacy studies, neuroscience are different from the goal of therapy. In therapy work is with the individual patient and with her personal life story in the unique encounter betweenthissufferer andthistherapist. Theirs is a unique dramatic encounter whose primary purpose is healing and whose secondary purpose is investigation and research.

Dramatology offers a challenge to psychoanalytic case studies. Countless case presentations in the psychoanalytic literature represent generalizations based on received formulas: theories of sexuality and aggression, developmental and maturational lines, psychologies of various schools (Freud, Jung, Kohut, Kernberg, Lacan, Klein, Bion). Thus they tend to become exercises in applied psychoanalysis as compared to those that focus on the actual interactions, feelings, and emotions within both participants and in their interchanges (Lothane, unpublished). I do not deny the legitimacy or the heuristic contributions made by the various schools, even as they may shade into ideologies that nurture ambitions of the leaders of such schools and their power politics. Dynamic formulations, as research or scientific goal, should come as an afterthought, when the work of therapy has been completed.

Dramatology sheds a new light on two pivotal concepts in psychoanalytic therapy, transference and resistance. Transference has been both vigorously deployed and (Freud, 1912b) and denounced (Schachter, 2002) down the decades. Defenders and deniers of transference have bogged down in a rather ritualistic or formulaic use of these concepts which require an exploration of both conscious and unconscious emotional reactions. Dramatology paradigm suggests a remedy. Actions seen as resistance or transference do not enter the scene with labels ‘resistance’ and ‘transference’ attached to them; they are enacted in dramatic dialogue. In the dramatic here-and-now transference and resistance are not to be applied as initial diagnoses or determinations to the patient’s actions but rather as achievements and conclusions of a mutual quest, since both capable of resistance and transference. Traditionally analysts have extolled the passive role of the listener and eschewed the active role of confrontation; the latter was erroneously deemed as punitive towards the patient. Neither literary drama nor the dramas large and small of the psychoanalytic situation can deny conflict and confrontation; the latter needs to be given its proper place in psychoanalytic technique (Lothane, 1986). Confrontation is the first step in clarification of actions mutually observed while reciprocal free association facilitates the uncovering of their deeper unconscious ideational and emotional meanings  and ramifications.

Literary drama psychoanalytic dramatology are consonant with ethics (Freud, 1915, Lothane, 1998). Conflict and confrontation need to be completed by ethics so that the participants in the psychoanalytic drama can reach mutual emotional understanding and growth as they journey together, temporarily or interminably, in search of love, justice, and truth. 


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