ROBERT STOLOROW, PHD (1997, P. 342-343)


"...From a dynamic systems perspective, development is viewed as "the continual stabilization and destabilization, over time, of preferred attractor states" (Thelen & Smith, 1994, p.61), as "evolving and dissolving attractors" (p. 85). From this vantage point, change is defined as "the transition from one stable state or attractor to another" (p. 63). Such a conception...posits that change requires disorganization of the developing system. It is the loss of stability and coherence that "provides the bumps that allow the system to discover its new stable patterns...Developing systems must be in this unstable...mode to explore new cooperative patterns (p. 65), to "assemble new adaptive forms" (p. 68). From the dynamic principle that "systems shift into new forms only as the old forms get shaken up by internal perturbations" (p. 64), it follows that effective interpretations are perturbations that disrupt the repetitive attractor states dominationg the patient-analyst system, freeing its components to reassemble in new ways, establishing the possibility of alternative principles for organizing experience (Stolorow & Atwood, 1992). It also follows that for the process of therapeutic change to be sustained, the patient-analyst system must be able to tolerate and contain the painful and frightening affect states that accompany periods of destabilization, what my collaborators and I (Stolorow et al., 1994) call "the fear of structureless chaos" (p 203). I view such affect tolerance and containment as a crucial component of the holding function (Winnicott, 1965) or selfobject function (Kohut, 1984) of the analytic bond, without which therapeutic change is felt to be too dangerous and must be resisted, as the system retreats into more stable, and thus safer, patterns...."





"...Therapeutic action can be conceptualized as the process of investigating and understanding the experiential world of the patient, including...the specific felt sources and origins of that world...this necessitates the similar investigation and understanding of the analyst's experiential world as well, including the measured articulation of aspects of it in the context of the therapeutic dialogue. It also includes an ongoing appreciation for (and hopefully, of) the implicit, nonsymbolized dimension of experiencing and relational learning that so powerfully and involuntarily contributes to the coadaptive, mutually organizing aspect of the relational world the two individuals coconstitute together (...to explore and attempt to account for the greater context of which each...is an integral constituent). It also requires a continual sensitivity to and articulation of what is felt to be most affectively enlivening, self-expansive, self-integrative, and deepening of interpersonal contact...it is the expansion of the dyad's collaboratively arrived-at and felt awareness of these sources and origins - past, present, and imagined future - that plays an important role in the perturbation of the relational system such that the stage is set for the emergence of new, more useful patterns of experience...[which] should not be constituted to mean more reality-based, more objective, or more true. These newer experiential contours are sustainable because they are reiterated, over time, and supported by and throughout by the interpenetrating relational systems in the patient's life..."