Psychic Work: Paradox and Process

Home/ Psychic Work: Paradox and Process
Course TypeCourse CodeNo. Of Credits
Foundation CoreSHS2017262

Semester and Year Offered: 4th Semester, 2nd year

Course Coordinator and Team: Prof. Ashok Nagpal, Mr. Vikas Deepak

Email of course coordinator:

Pre-requisites: a curiosity about Intrapsychic as well as Intersubjective processes developed over three completed semesters.

Aim: To collectively arrive at an appreciation of Psyche as a fundamentally creative agency striving to manifest in its highest potential by transforming contradictions that belong to the seeming or real opposition between external reality and inner life.

Course Outcomes: On successful completion of this course the student will be able to:

  1. Discover within oneself how the Psyche works towards dissolution of divisive opposites in ones lives to produce a hopefulness about being alive as a person, howsoever illusory or unbelievable yet real to oneself.
  2. Observe the collapse of the Psyche towards stereotypically objective and literal dimensions of social discourse in the scenario when its creativity cannot be manifested and creative processes become evacuative processes.
  3. Appreciate Paradoxes as emerging from the fact of absolute dependence of Self and Other.
  4.  Develop clinical neutrality in their work as practitioners by reaching out for the Paradox that can serve an integrative function for the patient’s or client’s presentation of a dialectic that is producing inner turmoil in their life.

Brief description of modules/ Main modules:

Though the teacher’s interaction with the students is guided by prominent analytic thinkers -- such as Donald Woods Winnicott, Wilfred Bion, and Harold Searles -- who have written intensively about Paradoxes inherent in the Process of psychotherapeutic work, the modules are constituted participatively through a free associative engagement in the initial classes. However still, a trend can be seen in the constitution of modules over the years. This is as follows:

Students and teacher discuss thoughts and read texts that point toward one or more of the following paradoxical revelations encountered in clinical work

  1. In the process of becoming a Self one destroys repeatedly that which one is dependent upon (the writings of Winnicott are particularly conducive for this exploration)
  2. The psychoanalyst must abandon memory and desire (writings of Wilfred Bion help this exploration)
  3. The capacity to be alone emerges through a Presence (explored through Winnicott)
  4. Through an oscillation between the opposite poles of trust and mistrust one develops the capacity for hope (explored through writings of Erik Erikson)

Towards the conclusion of the course the free associative process moves to selecting and discussing either a movie or a short story. In the last edition of this course the short story ‘The Last Leaf' by One. Henry was selected for study.

Assessment Details with weights:

Home Assignment - 40% ; In-Class Written Assessment - 40% ; Class Participation - 20%

Reading List:

  • Bion, W. (1988). Notes on memory and desire. In E. B. Spillius (Ed.), New library of psychoanalysis, 8. Melanie Klein today: Developments in theory and practice, Vol. 2. Mainly practice (pp. 17-21). Florence, KY, US: Taylor & Frances/Routledge.
  • Erikson, E. H. (1993). CHILDHOOD AND SOCIETY. Pub: W. W. Norton and Company.
  • Searles, H. (1975) ‘The “dedicated physician in psychotherapy and psychoanalysis’. Crosscurrents in Psychiatry and Psychoanalysis, edited by Gibson RW. Great Britain, JB Lippincott, 128-143, 1967
  • Winnicott, D. W. (1963a). From dependence towards independence in the development of the
  • individual. In: Winnicott, D. W., (1965) The Maturational Processes and the Facilitating
  • Environment. Reprint. London: Karnac, 1990, pp. 83-92.
  • Winnicott, D. W. (1958). The capacity to be alone. The International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 39, 416-420.
  • Winnicott, D. (2017). PLAYING AND REALITY. London: Routledge.