Along with the anxiety we experienced, the epidemic brought about important changes in the mental working conditions. Along with the desperation brought about by external conditions, the most affected of these was the framework, which did not consist of a simple arrangement. The framework is the most important element of spiritual work in organic unity with theory, which is important not only for psychoanalysis but also for all therapies, with many inclusive, limiting and symbolizing functions.
The most important disagreements in the history of psychoanalysis have to do with the psychoanalytic framework. It is the differences of opinion about the definition of the framework that caused the break between Freud and Ferenczi. Also, the main source of the controversy between Anna Freud and M. Klein is the analytical framework rather than the analytical process. Between 1910 and 1915, Freud wrote extensively on various aspects of psychoanalytic technique. In these articles, he aimed to explain to prospective analysts what psychoanalysis is and to convey its ethical framework. After Freud, many writers emphasized the importance of the frame. Winnicott defined the setting in 1956 as “the sum of the details in arranging the therapeutic apparatus.”* At this point, Winnicott draws attention to the development of the analytic process and the active role of the analyst in creating the appropriate conditions. Freud did not directly use the concept of framework, but talked about the rules of practice, and was very cautious about writing on the psychoanalytic technique. One reason for this is that people who have not received training on this subject are afraid of making wrong applications based on their writings, and the other reason is that some of their students are afraid that they will try to apply what they have written without any flexibility.
While Freud left a margin of flexibility in the framework, our psychoanalytic framework, which we think of as the whole of constants by suddenly finding ourselves at Sykp or on the other end of the phone, has enabled us to see our capacity to adapt and flexibility with new experiences. The thing that I understood best from this process was “management”. The most important thing that kept me in this process was that my analyst could exist for me under all circumstances, even under limited conditions and far away. On the one hand, I realized the value of my easily accessible analysis sessions in their natural flow. Maybe I can’t see the green branches of the big tree in front of me waving harmoniously when I am in the analysis, but it has been a process where I can say that the distance I feel internally cannot be measured by the distance in reality, by thinking more carefully and carefully on each of my sessions, “even if it is far away, at least it is here”.
Recently, the International Psychoanalytical Association (IPA) podcast hosted psychoanalyst Marilia Aisenstein, former president of the Paris Psychoanalytic Institution and the Paris Psychosomatics Institute, on the podcast “IPA Off the Couch”. Marilia talked about how French psychoanalysts had difficulties in changing their frameworks during this pandemic, and that online sessions were seen as a “sin” by these psychoanalysts before the epidemic and that they had to gradually bend the strict rules they have now adopted.
I have to listen to this flexibility in his clinical work, which I love so much. He states that the pristine version of the standard model is often not suitable for use in daily applications, on the other hand, this does not mean that “every way is permissible”.
According to him, the purpose of making changes in qualities such as analytical framework, stance, frequency is to preserve and even strengthen the essence.
As Marilia says, “To be flexible with a model, it must first be fully internalized.”*
Still, to the days when we will be able to reach our therapy rooms and sofas that we stay away from these days.