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Winer, J.A. (1996). Introduction. Ann. Psychoanal., 24:5-6.

(1996). Annual of Psychoanalysis, 24:5-6


Jerome A. Winer, M.D.

Merton Gill loved to tell jokes—at dinner, at meetings with students, to patients. Of course, what counted most about the jokes to patients were the repercussions in the transference, a concept that extended far beyond jokes and one that he elaborated in much of the work of the later and most productive period of his career. Merton Gill died on November 13, 1994, and this volume of The Annual is dedicated to his life and work. The repercussions of that work are well known already. Gill, perhaps more than anyone, is responsible for the two-person view of the analytic situation entering mainstream psychoanalysis. Gill helped us realize that the analyst and the patient have a profound effect upon one another and that it is a major element of the analytic enterprise to discover as much as can be discovered about how that happens and what it means. Gill did not forget that psychoanalysis is a one-person psychology, too, and was able to retain what remained viable from that perspective. So many of those who lauded Merton while he was alive and at his death commented on how he could change his views when exposed to strongly reasoned critique. They also spoke, not only of how he influenced them, but how they influenced him. Certainly, to affect the thinking of a great mind is a great pleasure. To all of his readers and listeners, Merton provided another great pleasure—that of simple, clear presentation of thought in depth. He never made the complex seem easy. Gill's voice is gone, but the repercussions of what he said and wrote reverberate and will continue to reverberate as long as thoughtful people do analytic work.

On February 10, 1995, at the College of Medicine of the University of Illinois at Chicago, the Department of Psychiatry held a program organized by Merton's widow, Dr. Ilse Judas, to celebrate his memory. Merton had been a member of the department for nearly a quarter of a century. Along with several other colleagues and students, four distinguished psychoanalysts presented accounts of their personal and professional relationships with Gill.

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