Obsessions: The Twisted Cruelty

Author(s) : Francesco Bisagni

Obsessions: The Twisted Cruelty

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This book explores the interrelatedness between obsessive compulsive disorders, thinking disorders, and depression. The issue is considered both from a psychiatric viewpoint and from a psychodynamic perspective. The age of the cases presented in the book ranges from childhood through adolescence to adulthood.

Obsessions: The Twisted Cruelty is a challenging contribution to contemporary clinical debate, especially regarding the role of analytically-oriented psychotherapy in the treatment of OCD, and how to deal with the psychiatric treatment and combine the two approaches, while keeping the focus on the transference-countertransference interplay. After the first theoretical chapter, the relationship between obsessions and thinking impairments is discussed, with specific reference to delusional ideation. A section entitled “the anal conundrum” follows. Encopresis and anal masturbation during childhood are discussed, as well as the identification of the child with a maternal “faecal object. The last section explores the connection with depression, and some specific features of sadism.

The author explores the Bionian and post-Bionian perspective on the one hand, as well as developments of the post-Jungian theory, such as the applications of the complexity theory, and the contemporary definitions of complex and archetype. The recent contributions of neuroscience research is also considered.

Reviews and Endorsements

‘This is a brilliant and exceedingly wise book. Dr Bisagni knows more about people with OCD than anyone. His integration of the psychiatric diagnostic dimension with his profound psychoanalytic understanding and treatment of his patients is masterly. We all have much to learn from his work with these difficult and tortured people. The book is dramatic and highly readable, too.’
––Anne Alvarez, PhD, consultant child and adolescent psychotherapist, London

‘A brilliant and unique theoretical and clinical realisation of what C. G. Jung means by psychic reality: a personal clinical experience, an image (the impressive and detailed case studies), and a model for the nature and function of the psyche. As a psychiatrist and child and adult analyst, Francesco Bisagni is deeply experienced in working with the regressed psyche in its lack of psychic space and impaired capacity for symbolisation. The author’s approach is a paradigm for the modern treatment of severe psychic diseases and is also a very helpful textbook for students.’
––Gustav Bovensiepen, MD, child and adult training analyst, Cologne

‘A truly innovative book. The author traces enlightening links between different psychoanalytic approaches and, in the clinical part, takes the reader on his intrepid search for the truths deeply hidden in his patients’ obsessive-compulsive defence organisations. It takes existential courage to face the twisted cruelty of their relentless attempts to immobilise life, and to survive unutterable emerging emotions. Intrapsychic states are systematically connected with early interpersonal and group relations, and with transgenerational transmission. This offers an unusually dynamic view of psychic life and its emotional perversions. In its completeness, this stunning, long-needed book fills a gap in psychoanalytic literature.’
––Suzanne Maiello, DPsych, adult analyst, child and adolescent psychotherapist, Rome

‘Francesco Bisagni is a skilled and experienced analyst, with expertise in some of the most obdurate mental afflictions, namely, the compulsive/obsessive, autistic, and related disorders. Drawing upon an amalgam of psychoanalytic and Jungian understanding combined with the principle of emergence, Bisagni demonstrates the effectiveness of his psychoanalytic approach through vivid clinical accounts. His endurance over long periods of psychological exclusion by his patients and his eye for small changes speak to Bisagni’s depth of commitment to his patients and his profession. This book will be of interest to anyone wishing to better understand those affected by these disorders.’
––Elizabeth Urban, PhD, child and adult Jungian analyst, London

About the Author(s)

Francesco Bisagni, MD, is a psychiatrist, a Jungian analyst, and a Tavistock-model trained child psychotherapist. He is a Training Analyst of the Society of Analytical Psychology (SAP) and a psychoanalyst of the National Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis (NAAP) in the US. He is a Training and Supervising Analyst of the Centre for Studies in Contemporary Psychoanalyses (CSPC) in Milan. He is the author and editor of a number of books and articles published in Italy and in the major analytic journals.

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