chapter  3
“Time Th at No One Can Count, Always Begins Anew”: Th oughts Concerning the Function and Meaning of the So-Called Negative Th erapeutic Reaction from the Perspective of Time Standing Still
ByGERD SCHMITHÜSEN
Pages 30

Th e purpose of this chapter is to address a phenomenon that often arises in the negative therapeutic reaction (NTR), to recognize the value of that phenomenon, and to make it more accessible for analytic work. I will describe a dialectic in NTR which manifests itself in a tension that develops between the defenses of refusal, negation, retreat, and the feeling as if time were standing still and the simultaneous hope of fi nding a way out despite all previous disappointments and fears (“a hopelessness not empty of hope,” Schneider, 2004, p. 58). In NTR a highly complex dynamic is at work between a desire to make contact and at the same time an impulse to retreat. Th e movie Dances with Wolves (Kostner, 1990) illustrates this dynamic impressively and directly in the scene where the protagonist, who has been posted to a place in the Wild West that is on the frontier between the European controlled territory and the Indians’ lands is confronted by a hungry wolf and off ers it a piece of bacon. Tempted by the smell, the wolf strains its entire body toward the meat, yet at the same time hesitates, every muscle taut, ready to explode into action if need be so it can run for its life.