Counselling, Madness, Mindfullness, Psychoanalysis, Psychotherapy, Reflective Practice, Religion, Spirituality, The Inner World, Ways of Being

God of the gap

I’ve always liked tis image. I find the space between God and Adam astonishing. I think Michelangelo had real courage to leave this gap. A less brave painter would have been unable to allow this much tension and uncertainty-particularly since it is painted on the ceiling of the Sistine chapel where there might have been a wish for certainty.Whenever i see this picture I’m reminded of the idea of Transitional Objects mooted by the psychoanalyst Winnicott. In his theory he speaks of the nipple and the feeding child. He asks who owns this space? Does the baby “own” the breast or vice versa. He writes that “Psychologically the infant takes from a breast that is part of the infant, and the mother gives milk to an infant that is part of herself.” (Playing and Reality) He goes on to suggest that this space is where “… the intense experiencing that belongs to the arts and to religion and to imaginative living, and to creative scientific work.” (Playing and Reality)

In other words it is the area where play takes place.I have occasionally had an experience of creative play in my work as a therapist. A patient will tell me a story of something that happened to them. We will talk about it and come to an understanding of it. But often there is a sense of incompleteness. So we go back to the story and read it again. Suddenly the missing piece falls into place and the story’s unconscious meaning is understood. These are moments of great satisfaction for both the therapist and his patient. The beauty of these moments is that they belong to the gap. Nobody owns the meaning. It has been created in the potential zone that is both and neither baby and / or  breast. It is a magical place.

But it can only exist if both therapist and patient allow space between them .As a psychodynamic counsellor I spend a lot of time trying not to say too much! (Some of my patients find this frustrating not to say persecutory!) Yet it is only by allowing space and silence that we create a gap that allows for play. It takes a certain amount of courage to remain silent- particularly when a patient is pushing me to give them an answer. It means that as a therapist I have to trust the process. To believe that the framework within which | work is one that maximises creativity and discovery.

So it seems to be a good picture for my Facebook page which is one way in which I offer people a space in which to play. People can simply Like or Unlike. They can choose to follow me or not. At best they can write something. I can only provide the breast. What is done with it is the gap- where all manner of possibilities exist.UnknownGod creating Adam


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