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Affective Association–A Free Association Method for Psychotherapy with Manic-Depressive Persons

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Length: 13 minutes

Michael Sholom Perlman, MD

Dr. Perlman presents a specific technique of free association to bodily feelings, a technique which he has used in the treatment of manic-depressive persons (and others) since about 1970. The technique is especially useful to help the person tap into her inner life, express that experience, and convey it to the therapist. By this method, unresolved traumas may be discovered, with an opportunity to acknowledge, bear, and put into perspective affects associated with past and present external and internal reality. The method also helps the person become able to enter and stay in self-nurturing, anti-depressant, mood-stabilizing ego-states. This latter concept is discussed in detail. A difficulty entering into and staying in such ego-states is often found in these persons and is a major source of difficulty.  The method is derived in part from the teachings of Elvin Semrad, Mardi Horowitz, Heinz Kohut, and Herbert Spiegel. He illustrates the method with specific examples.


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