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Barnett, R. (1988). Comments on the Conference. Brit. J. Psychother., 5(2):200.

(1988). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 5(2):200

Comments on the Conference Related Papers

Ruth Barnett

Firstly, I would like to thank you and the other organisers for what I thought was a very worthwhile conference: sometimes very interesting, sometimes infuriating but all the time stimulating. There is no question about the excellence of the four papers that were presented.

The conference topic, perhaps inevitably, proved to be a ‘highly charged’ one, and for this reason alone it was useful to ‘give it an airing’. I feel the issues of politics and status in the field of psychoanalytic psychotherapy and psychoanalysis are allpervasive, quite deep and mostly maintained by subtle insinuations and evasions. I found this to be very much so at this year's Rugby Conference. Therefore I welcomed your conference as a move in the right direction to initiate open dialogue.

However, I was saddened by the overwhelming emphasis on psychoanalysis, with the concomitant, albeit perhaps unintentional, implication that psychoanalytic psychotherapy is secondary and inferior. I feel the programme sheet set the framework for this. Psychoanalysis is emphasised at the top. Psychoanalysis comes before psychotherapy in the title. All three sessions were chaired by psychoanalysts. Only one of the four papers was presented by a ‘pure’ psychotherapist (i.e. not trained or involved in the Institute of Psychoanalysis). On asking Bob Hinshelwood, I discovered there was absolutely no reason for giving the psychotherapist fourth place (1st, 2nd, 3rd and also ran?). In fact, he told me, the thought had not entered his mind.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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