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Kitto, J. (1988). Comments on the Conference. Brit. J. Psychother., 5(2):201.

(1988). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 5(2):201

Comments on the Conference Related Papers

Jane Kitto

I greatly appreciated the conference. It uncovered some of the difficult and painful things about the relationship and if for no other reason I think that conference was a brave and necessary occasion.

It has left me with many thoughts. The main point to emerge for me was about psychotherapists and their institutions, which was put most succinctly by a speaker from the floor who pointed to the dependent and angry relationship that psychotherapists have with psychoanalysts. In fact the conference produced dramatic confirmation of this when, in reply to a question as to why there were no psychotherapists as speakers, we were told that twenty had been approached and all refused, the reason given being lack of confidence.

One might conclude from this that psychotherapists are just not up to it and so had better recognise this and stop complaining (angry dependency). But I do not think it is so simple. I believe that psychotherapists, of whom I am one, have a real problem. It was expressed in a number of different ways in the conference, for example the mutual projection of contempt and envy. It might be put like this. The theory on which psychotherapists base their practice is psychoanalytic theory, both theory of the mind and theory of clinical practice, but their practice is called something different. While we can resolve this at the conscious and rational level, at another level it must give rise to fantasies about legitimacy and ownership. Thus, if I practise psychotherapy, how can I contribute to theory (which is psychoanalytical)? If I do am I trespassing, or poaching, am I acting under false pretences or what?

Put another way, it is the question of resources.

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