chapter  2
19 Pages

An exquisite corpse

The jarring disjunctive verbal and visual productions of the exquisite corpse game produce an unusual psychic strain. The mind is forced to irritably search for intelligibility, without which there is only a terrifying void. Yet, if one labors too self-consciously, the already tenuous semblance of sense vaporizes immediately. Working with people who go in and out of psychotic states carries many strains. The most obvious is handling self-destructiveness both in the intentional form of suicidality as well as the consequential damages that follow from anxious disorganization, confusion, or poor judgment. But there is an additional strain the analyst must bear working in areas where psychotic anxieties predominate: the precarious and cyclical way potential space is generated. The analyst's handling of this strain, the person's experience of how the analyst handles the strain, and the unpredictable and shifting contexts within which the strain is negotiated between the two of them become central features of the analytic encounter.