KEYNOTE PAPER: Freud’s Wolf Man: A Contemporary Object Relations View of Fragile Narcissism and Borderline Dynamics Presenter: Harold P. Blum, M.D. Contact hours: 2.5
Abstract: Freud’s 1918 Wolf Man (der Wolfsmann) Case will be reconsidered from both an historical and a current psychoanalytic perspective. The famous Wolf Man dream will be seen with new eyes, far beyond the symbolism of primal scene trauma. Today we can understand that the Wolf Man had a severe personality disorder, in which developmental object relations issues highlight the reality perception, identity formation, and the fragile narcissism that promoted psychic arrest and an interminable treatment dilemma. Both psychoanalysis and psychotherapy are taken to task, as the experts on the Wolf Man examine the mind of the man, which fascinated Freud, but which left the patient with lifelong pathology, and which played itself out during the historical brewing of psychoanalysis, and in a social climate that did not yet have words for object relational dynamics. Dr. Harold Blum was heir to the Rorschach test findings on the Wolf Man, after the Rorschach test was administered to the Wolf Man later in his life. Through such testing, the formulations of developmental disorder and borderline personality were formulated. Dr. Blum will discuss the complex relationships between the Wolf Man, Freud, and the psychoanalytic community in the context of contemporary psychoanalysis.
Discussant 1: Eva Papiasvili, PhD, ABPP Contact hours: 1.5
Abstract: In her discussion, Dr. Papiasvili will expand on specific configuration of psychic conflict, processes of trauma and posttraumatic development, with consequent alterations to affective-cognitive functioning in areas of memory, temporality, and constriction of symbolizing and representational capacity pertaining to borderline personality organization of the patient known to psychoanalytic community as the ‘Wolf Man’. In this vein, developmental and clinical concepts of the French object relations ‘Third Model’ theorizing will be introduced as an additional viable perspective shedding light on and broadening our understanding of the complexities of the Wolf Man’s (and borderline conditions with traumatic etiology in general) serious impediments. Vignettes from Dr. Papiasvili’s clinical practice, e.g. the published case of ‘Laura – The Wolf Girl’ will be elaborated and discussed, to exemplify the clinical viability of such an approach.
Discussant 2: Stefanie Teitelbaum, LCSW-R, NCPsyA Contact hours: 1.5
“The capacity for visual imagery, the capacity for hallucination, has its direction reserved and is used for the purpose of inserting into the analyst, through the analyst’s eyes, feelings which the patient wants the analyst to have. (W.R. Bion, 1967, p.101)”.
Stefanie Teitelbaum discuss the Wolf-man’s iconic drawing of the dream of the white wolves in the tree as such an image created within the time and space of his analysis with Freud as an effort to reach Freud’s mind through his eyes. Sharing Dr. Blum’s conclusion about the Wolf-man’s borderline and developmental trauma, Ms. Teitelbaum will comment Dr. Blum’s journey through the lens of Kleinian and British Object Relations, as well as a Relational lens of the drawing as a co-creation representing the mis-attunement between Freud and his patient.