Writing a clinical diary

12 October 2006 | ,

S?°ndor FerencziI have always found that writing a diary or journal, including this one, is a difficult task. If, added to the description and reflection on life and a PhD, one finds the complexities of undergoing psychoanalytic treatment, the prospect is almost insurmountable. No one is sane enough for psychoanalysis; there is always an ever so slight repression, a nagging denial, a level of resistance, something unknown and unconscious. The analysand, no matter how distant from the process she wants to be, always ends up in the midsts of transference. Without that, there’s no psychoanalytic treatment, of course. Psychoanalysis makes the research consider various things, amongst which are one’s subjective relationship to the research (the objective-subjective conundrum, or the personal-political, as I have called it before) and the issue of time and its management.

Looking not to feel too isolated in my task, I quickly google “clinical+diary” for inspiration. Top hit is S?°ndor Ferenczi’s book, writen from the opposing site in the relationship, as analyst. I had come across this book before, in an article by Julia Borossa, part of my beloved In the Place of an Object collection of essays. Borossa talked about the vulnerability, the intensity of the analytic relationship but only now that my sessions were evolving from training to treatment the importance of this issue of recounting clicked.

The contradiction between need and fear, what I mostly feel in the sessions, is very difficult to write about. Description of the topics discussed and the analysis of symptoms undertaken as part of the sessions is easy. But that, in a sense, is not getting involved, not dealing with the issue, repressing. How can one work through the facts, the feelings in the writing? How can one work through the facts, the feelings in art? [Sublimation comes to mind]. Time management is crucial here. I have said before that psychoanalysis does not happen without commitment, both in terms of money and of time. It is the same with writing and art. However painful, difficult, unimportant, boring, long, tedious, frustrating it may be, one has to keep at it, day after day, week after week or whatever the time agreement is. This is the only way breakthroughs in the style, the accounts, the works could ever happen. Resistance is pierced, something emerges. Write, Write, Write; Do, Do, Do. Let that be a promise from me, who hasn’t finished a substantial piece of work in a long time.

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