Encountering the Internal Persecutor

Within the Psychotherapist, the Patient, and the Therapeutic Relationship

  • John O'Connor
Keywords: internal persecutor, shame, reparation, restoration, inner freedom, recycling madness

Abstract

Encountering the other is inevitably central to therapeutic work. This paper explores the challenges and possibilities of encountering the internal persecutor within the therapist, the patient, and within the clinical dyad. This encounter is often terrifying as we meet not only the other in the form of our patients and the different cultural groupings with which we engage, but also the others lying dissociated within us and which are inevitably stirred, and sometimes violently enacted, in the heat of the clinical moment. The temptation to make the other wrong, or to defensively submit, in order to survive the shameful attacks of the persecuting other(s) within us is extremely powerful. However, encounters with such persecutory dynamics can also potentially enable deep transformation in both the therapist and patient. In this paper, I explore these temptations and opportunities. I draw on a range of psychoanalytic, relational and Jungian theoretical perspectives, and include clinical vignettes.

Whakarāpopotonga

Kāore koa, he tūtakitanga taru tangata, te waenga-pū o te mahi haumanu. Ko tā tēnei pepa, he wherawhera i ngā wero me ngā tūpono tūtakitanga i te kaipēhi whakaroto o te kaihaumanu, te tūroro me te tōpū haumanu. I te nuinga o te wā, he tūtakitanga whakawehiwehi tēnei nā te mea ehara ko te hanga taru tangata o ā tātau tūroro me ngā rōpū ahurei rerekē ngā mea tūtaki ai tātau, engari ko ētahi taru tangata e noho wehe ana whakaroto i a tātau ka whakaarahia ake me te aha i ētahi wā ka haukekehia i te ohorerehanga o te wā. Tino kaha te tahu ki te uta i te hē ki taru tangata, ki te aata whakaata hauraro rānei kia puta ai i ngā ngau a taru. Ahakoa rā, he huarahi whakakaha whakaaro hōhonu rerekē mō te kaiwhakaora me te tūroro ēnei momo tūtakitanga. Ka tirohia ēnei tahu ēnei tūponohanga i roto i tēnei tuhinga. Ka kūmea mai ngā tirohanga tātarihanga mātauranga matehinengaro maha, tā Hūngiana tirohanga, me ētahi tuhinga haumanu poto.

Published
2018-03-21
How to Cite
O’Connor, J. (2018). Encountering the Internal Persecutor: Within the Psychotherapist, the Patient, and the Therapeutic Relationship. Ata: Journal of Psychotherapy Aotearoa New Zealand, 21(2), 107-117. https://doi.org/10.9791/ajpanz.2017.11
Section
Articles