Carrying forward the work of Emmanuel Ghent and Stephen Mitchell
Time & Location
About The Event
Emmanuel Ghent and Stephen Mitchell each maintained an extraordinary productivity in psychoanalysis until the very end of life. Since then, many analysts have been developing ideas in psychoanalytic theory and technique that were made possible because of the work each did individually, and jointly in a loose but extraordinarily creative partnership.
One of Ghent’s brilliant breakthroughs consisted of his linking of the idea of “ego” in the Hindu/Buddhist sense, with Winnicott’s notion of “false self.” The bridging concept was “surrender”; psychological/spiritual growth occurred with surrender of ego/false self. Ghent contrasted surrender with submission, a false self look-alike to surrender that was organized in dominant-submissive terms.
Winnicott had defined true self in terms of going-on being, a process of self-unfolding.
In one of his last public talks, Mitchell suggested that false self might be defined in terms of structure itself, perhaps in a dialectical relationship with process. False self interrupts the flow of self-unfolding.
Ghent had succeeded in linking psychoanalysis, a la Winnicott, with Eastern philosophy and spirituality; Mitchell seemed to be forging links with the interpersonal psychoanalytic tradition in which “self”, as in “self system” is inherently a defensive phenomenon. Mitchell was bringing Winnicott together with Sullivan.
It is now left to us to carry forward this integration of various versions of psychoanalysis with Eastern spirituality. To this end, I am organizing a study/reading group to meet on Wednesdays in July 10:30-11:30AM. I envision that the group will become open-ended for those who wish to continue into the Fall and beyond. Remote participation may be possible.