Psychological Abuse: a Paradox of Psychological Vitality

Cezara Dașu (PTSTA-P)

Cristian Stoica (Psychotherapist)

Conference: Saturday, October 26th, 14.00 - 15.45

I propose you to explore one of the most challenging constellation that a psychotherapist might meet: the paradox of the victim who needs her executioner and the drama of a perspective where hypomania gets entangled with masochism because the victim depends on the abuser to support her psychic life.

Unfortunately, probably every psychotherapist met at least once this configuration of a person who returns over and over again in abusive relationships, having a psychic dynamic which has a main function maintaining the psychic stability while sacrificing the internal coherence through defense mechanisms that help the person avoiding the abandonment but creating fertile frame for hamartic life scripts. When the key conflict is love and hate toward the abuser the unconscious is populated with memories that are too traumatic to be consciously bearable.

Theories regarding the development of the sense of self facilitate understanding the functioning of the person with dependent pattern predisposed to the collapse of the sense of self due to the loneliness because her/his identification is focused on the person whom she/he depends upon and she/him has no self-regulating skills. We will discover how in the childhood the chaos and the unpredictable impeded the consolidation of the sense of self and how vital is the existence of consistent positive interpersonal events in order to have an integrated sense of self which is the basis of a powerful structural Adult.

The TA models relevant in this workshop (only a part of them, of course, as the reflexive
processes of the participants will bring to surface many other valuable connections), are the ones
that create a link with the object relations school. They were explored by Peg Blackstone, who
won the Eric Berne award in 1997. These models include-the second order structural model, the
OK corral, script theory and protocol, Berne’s treatment plan, emphasizing the deconfusion of
the Child ego state, redecision theory, J. Barr’s model of relationships. The descriptions is not
meant to be an exhaustive one, so that there is space for surprises and the Free Child feels
completely welcomed.

Participants will be invited to share their experiences and how they see feasible keeping and instilling a realistic hope (and what the realistic hope would be in this situation) for a life less subdued to the repetition compulsion and I will present the therapeutic directions from literature and different case studies from my work.

We will use role-plays to experiment and elaborate the use of the transference matrix taking into account that the resistance of the persons will be one of the strongest that a psychotherapist might meet.