chapter  7
16 Pages

Meaning and meaningfulness: touching the untouchable

In this paper I will describe a patient with whom there was enormous difficulty in establishing shared understanding which carried convincing meaning to both analysand and analyst.Vast areas of his life appeared to be untouchable. Whilst he yearned for a relationship, he marshalled his forces to prevent being known. I hope to show a change in which this ‘no go’ area was reached and modified, so that he could be ‘touched’. It was only after he had been in analysis for over two years that he discovered that he had suffered from severe early infantile eczema. In my view, over and above the eczema itself, the way this had been dealt with both externally and internally appeared to have had a profound influence on the patient’s capacity to evaluate what was meaningful.