Alessandra Cavalli PhD

With deep sadness Alessandra passed away Sunday 17th May 2020.

I will miss the journey I have been on with Alessandra – a funny, vivacious and a great mind to explore all possibilities.

Rest well and enjoy your next journey.

Loss

Over the rainbow !

As we witness the pandemic shift and move throughout the world, I wonder what the effects it will have on our own internal worlds.  How do we make sense of the fact that we cannot see our loved ones?  We see family and friends via a video link or a phone, but we cannot touch them.  We have to stay away for all our survival.

We live with loss which is a constant.  Isn’t loss part of the human condition anyway?  From the day we are born we separate from mother. Growing and developing is about maturation, growing to be individual.  However, more than ever we need each other during these times in a hope we will ‘touch’ and ‘see’ each other again.

We mourn the loss of people we have admired and celebrate their lives and achievements. Maybe there is something about loss, mourning and hope.  Only time will tell.

A Psychic Retreat

At the beginning of the analysis, it became clear that J resided in a very dark place, well hidden from any form of aliveness.  Their attachment to me felt parasitical and searching for aliveness in me, but the result was the opposite: I often felt blanked out, deadened.  It was as if I had been infected with a tranquiliser, rendering me paralysed and unable to stay (conscious) or leave (act freely).  The room at times felt airless with an insufferable stench of something dead and decaying forever.  It soon resembled their home, hoarded rubbish and living amongst rotten food.  Dead and rotting though this space was, it nevertheless provided a perverse form of safety and a psychic retreat from continued failure in a litany of broken relationships.  This is as mentioned a perverse form of safety for most patients when entering analysis. The key to this ‘psychic retreat’ is to entre it with care and gentleness but to live it with the patient.  This is to know the patient.

Transformation – Rebirth

“One alchemical statement says that death is the conception of the Philosophers’ Stone.  The death of the ego, or the ego experiencing itself as dying, is very often the prelude to the birth of awareness of the self.  Jung makes the profound statement in Mysterium that “the experience of the self is always a defeat for the ego.” That’s because an encounter with the greater thing always has a wounding and damaging effect, initially, on the lesser thing.  And the experience of guilt belongs to this whole phenomenon of defeat and inadequacy and wounding.” Edinger (1994) P29/30

The Dead Mother

As I look back at the early consultations there was a hungry and aggressive edge to them.  My thinking at this time was that J’s inner world was finally ‘being seen’ and felt in a way previously unknown to her.  There was an intense hunger to J that often seemed overwhelming and suffocating, causing me to retreat into states of literal comatose and unconsciousness, redolent of her mother whom J reported as ‘emotionally dead, untouchable and unreachable’.  In referring to such deadness in The Dead Mother Complex, Andre Green skilfully describes this paralysing dynamic:  “an image which has been constituted in the child’s mind following maternal depression, brutally transforming a living object, which was a source of vitality for the child, into a distant figure, toneless, practically inanimate, deeply impregnating the cathexes of certain patients…and weighing on the destiny of their object-libidinal and narcissistic future..[The] dead mother … is a mother which remains alive but who is, so to speak, psychically dead in the eyes of the young child in her care” (Green A, 1986 P142)

Rebirth

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Spring Eternal

It is the time of year to think about how we have come out of hibernation and feel renewed due to our own internal rebirth. This is the time to explore your internal world to make new your commitments to life.