Violence has always been considered to be one of the more serious contraindications for psychoanalytic treatment. Conventional psychoanalytic wisdom regarding suitability for psychoanalysis teaches that a patient who has a history of violence towards self or others indicates weak ego strength and primitive defences, and so is unlikely to be able to utilise psychoanalytic therapy, which in itself may increase the risk of the patient acting violently. However, the nature of human aggression is one of the most essential themes that has interested psychoanalysis since its inception, and in its investigation, eminent psychoanalysts on both sides of the Atlantic have treated violent patients. As we have seen in the preceding chapters, violence in itself has only achieved prominence in the psychoanalytic literature within the last few decades. However, earlier generations of analysts produced creative clinicians interested in expanding the boundaries of classical psychoanalysis, such as Menninger (1938, 1942, 1963, 1968) in the United States, who saw many very serious violent cases for treatment. In the UK, the Portman Clinic in London was founded in 1931 as the Psychopathic Clinic, the clinical arm of the then Institute for the Scientific Treatment of Delinquency, by Dr Grace Pailthorpe, a psychoanalyst and psychiatrist, who enlisted the interest and support of prominent psychoanalysts such as Edward Glover and Kate Friedlander. The Clinic’s first formal patient seen in 1933 was ‘a woman, 47 years of age, noted as having a violent temper, charged with assault on her woman employer’ (Saville and Rumney, 1992).
Swipe to navigate through the chapters of this book
Please log in to get access to this content
To get access to this content you need the following product:
- Individual Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy for Violent Patients
- Macmillan Education UK
- Sequence number
- Chapter number