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Antonis, B. (2015). Controversial Discussions: Independent Women Analysts and Thoughts about Listening to Experience. Brit. J. Psychother., 31(1):96-106.

(2015). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 31(1):96-106

Controversial Discussions: Independent Women Analysts and Thoughts about Listening to Experience

Barbie Antonis

The aim of this paper is to identify central ideas described by Ella Freeman Sharpe, Marjorie Brierley and Sylvia Payne during the Controversial Discussions 1941-45 as presented in their Memoranda on Technique. These women, who have been described as the architects of the Middle Group (later renamed The Group of Independent Psychoanalysts) offer recommendations from their own clinical experience as psychoanalysts. I bring illustrations of their particular approaches relating to patients' history and experience. Each of these women took issue in certain ways with the concepts and assertions brought by Melanie Klein and Anna Freud and in articulating their reservations became positioned somewhat ‘independently’, bringing different emphases both conceptually and clinically. In the second part of the paper I ask how their ideas and recommendations may have influenced later psychoanalysts within the Independent Tradition such as Marion Milner, Enid Balint, Pearl King and Ann Hayman. My focus concerns the development of a theory of clinical technique that privileges what I term ‘listening to experience’. I highlight the contributions made by Michael Parsons whose writing has been central in giving voice to contemporary theorizing on the clinical technique of the Independent Tradition.

[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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