…So why am I thinking about her so much? Perhaps Hadid’s death is particularly upsetting because, as Thomas de Monchaux wrote in The New Yorker, architects tend to flourish later in life, making Hadid’s death at age 65, with only 10 years of constructed buildings, all the more premature. Or perhaps, as the New York Times article suggested, it was her singular position as the greatest female architect that amplified her death as a personal loss to me as a woman architect. But alongside my admiration, and slight envy of Zaha Hadid, I hear a small ugly voice whispering in my head. This voice says, “she was too big for life and so she died.” It is true, I admit, that she defied so many social norms, being ambitious, creative and successful, and choosing not to marry or have children. This, the Trump-like-misogynist voice in my head says, was too much; the universe could not maintain this kind of female presence…”
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Esther Sperber is the founder of Studio ST Architects, she writes and lectures on architecture and psychoanalysis.
The demise of the person in the psychoanalytic process may seem like a strange choice of subject matter as the words “person” and “personal” are not technical terms in standard psychoanalytic nomenclature. Typically, both terms are invoked, if at all, in a strictly offhand way when referring to non-transferential and non-technical behavior or experience in the context of the psychoanalytic treatment relationship.
For the majority of analysts, so-called personal aspects of the treatment situation have little, if any, role to play in the psychoanalytic process as it is typically conceived. For many, it is the absence of a personal engagement with patients that distinguishes psychoanalysis from its user-friendlier cousin, psychodynamic psychotherapy. It has become increasingly commonplace that contemporary psychoanalysts of virtually all persuasions reduce the psychoanalytic process to the analysis of transference, resistance, and more recently, enactments. This has resulted in the general assumption that virtually all of a patient’s reactions to the person of the analyst should be treated as transference manifestations.
Similarly, most if not all, significant interventions by the analyst in response to transference phenomena are informed by whichever technical principles a given analyst elects to follow. This is a view held typically, for example, by Kleinian, classical Freudian (i.e., American ego psychology), and most contemporary relational analysts, all of whom tend to deconstruct the very notion of a person-to-person engagement out of the psychoanalytic process. Such analysts often concede that interactions of a personal nature occur invariably during every analytic encounter, but such occurrences usually are deemed irrelevant, and even impediments, to the analytic process, and are avoided scrupulously or, when unavoidable, systematically analysed….
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