Fantastic Four - Johnny Storm cut-out
The Psychoanalytic concept of ‘reparation’ was initially put forward by Melanie Klein back in 1921. A facet of this construct explores the mental processes of infants and their illusions of possessing omnipotence – the idea that she or he can simply wish for something and it would come about. And yet, with this sense of omnipotence comes an intense anxiety that passing feelings of anger or unconscious frustration will cause the infant to destroy their loved objects. In short, the developing mind, cultivating a nascent sense of wisdom, does not trust itself with such power.
I’m not sure if it has been by design or simply a cool coincidence, but Gillen and McKelvie have captured this dynamic brilliantly with the dilemma that Wiccan now faces with his powers.
One of my favorite aspects of this show is the oddball questions it elicits from my students in the advanced psychopathology course I lead…
Q: ‘when working with an especially difficult patient, when is it okay to jump up and snap his neck?’
A: ‘Never. It’s never okay to snap your patient’s neck…’
Idealized transference dynamics, such as what Franklin experienced toward his psychiatrist in Hannibal are hardly uncommon. In most instances, they can be worked through in a manner that is ultimately beneficial to the treatment as a whole. They don’t require a premature ending of the therapy or referral to another clinician. And they certainly shouldn’t result in the psychiatrist breaking his or her patient’s neck.