THE SUMMER BREAK

THE SUMMER BREAK
Let others go : do not hate and do not kill because any separation could be a birth: for those who are left, for those who stay. (Massimo Fagioli)

I consider the summer break to be an integral part of a psychotherapy aimed at healing. In so-called supportive psychotherapy, the summer break is instead an accident of which you try to limit the damage by maintaining contact with the patient through phone calls, texts or other ways, all things that increase addiction. Frankly, I find it difficult to consider psychotherapy as what aims to support but I do not want to open a topic here that would be too long. Summer break is the litmus test of psychotherapy. Think of the child who, on the first day of school, leaves their mother serene to enter the classroom or, even better, of two lovers who, after the orgasm, separate happily. It is the freedom that derives from the satisfied desire, from the certainty of not cancelling the other at separation, self-assurance that does not allow any emptiness, any anguish, any doubt. That certainty that allows us then to find the other, after the separation, with the joy of seeing them again without having to ask who you were with? What did you do? but only with the will of being together.

Obviously, that’s not always the case. This is not always the case for the child who enters the classroom, neither for lovers nor for patients in psychotherapy. Just as we think that pause is an integral part of psychotherapy in the same way we must think that the quality of separation in any relationship is linked to the quality of the relationship itself. We cannot think of separation as something detached from what comes first, that is the relationship. In psychotherapy there may be two typical sick reactions to the summer break. The first is that of annulment before the separation from the other that goes away, which results in a loss of interest towards the therapist, with more or less euphoric reactions, so to have in some cases “miraculous healings”. “Doctor I’m perfectly fine thanks for everything I decided to finish it here”. But under this superficial conscious well-being one often hides another very unconscious thought. Simplifying a lot we can summarize it like this: “it is not you who abandons me, I abandon you”. The other pathological reaction occurs instead upon the return, so the crisis occurs after the break, in meeting again the psychotherapist, so for the presence of the latter. Between these two there is sometimes an intermediate situation that manifests itself with a mixture of anger and anguish, alarms of the fear of being able to make emotionally disappear that so important relationship.

Let’s try to see where we can find a precedent of these two reactions. We find the matrix of the first one in a possible pathological reaction at weaning, when the breast goes away definitively. The second can be found after weaning, when the child walks independently, speaks, feels the master of the world and suddenly discovers that not all human beings are in their image and likeness. The boy sees the girl, she sees the boy and it is crisis, crisis not for the abandonment but for the presence of the other, different from own self. And if we are to consider this crisis, related to one’s own universal and completely physiological physical identity, the ways to overcome it can be multiple, healthy or ill, depending on the internal reality that is below the narcissism of conscious physical identity. Because if this narcissism hid a void or dissociation, then the vision of the physically different can give rise to sick reactions.

This topic would be very long but perhaps you can understand why the summer break is an integral part of a psychotherapy. Because it allows us not to remember those moments but rather to recreate them. Up to the point of living with joy the freedom of others and of course their own, feeling that their human identity is realized in making the other who is loved feel good and certainly not in keeping themselves close tight. Let’s think about the mother’s joy in seeing her autonomous son walking away serenely, or the pride of the lover in knowing that the self-confidence of the beloved woman cannot be undermined by the envy ones or the inability of the therapist to remember how it was that wonderful person who is facing today, when they first appeared to his study.

It would be nice to think of relationships no longer dictated by need and useful but by human necessity and desire. And to think that this desire, once satisfied, turns into interest for the other, without demanding anything in return. Is it utopia? An ideal to reach? Let’s call it simply the realization of human identity.

Marco Michelini

Thanks to Chiara Fanasca for the translation of this article

 
 
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THE SUMMER BREAK
Let others go : do not hate and do not kill because any separation could be a birth: for those who are left, for those who stay. (Massimo Fagioli)