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Sheppard, A. (2007). Who should become a Psychoanalyst?. Canadian J. Psychoanal., 15:316-318.

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(2007). Canadian Journal of Psychoanalysis, 15:316-318

Who should become a Psychoanalyst?

Angela Sheppard Author Information

“Cowardice is easily rationalized as prudence, but it is hard to pretend to courage.”

Patrick Mahony

There is great courage required in the daily encounter of analysis. There is violence intrinsic to the process. Danielle Quinodoz (2006) writes about “Being a Psychoanalyst: An Everyday Audacity.” Winnicott describes the “non-angry destruction of the object” (1971, p. 110) inherent in the rare capacity to make use of another person. Jacques Mauger and Lise Monette write about our unconscious hatred of transference, the experience of the profound difference of the other, and more specifically about “the unconscious hatred of the transference(2000).

Marion Milner (1950) describes her discovery that violence is part of creativity, an essential aspect of the analytic process.

One of the functions of painting [all creativity] [is] surely the restoring and recreating externally what one had loved and internally hurt or destroyed… The human predicament that results from the inescapable discrepancy between self and other… results in primitive hating. (pp. 67-68)

To transcend this hatred, Milner proposes “the revolutionary idea that creativeness is something which comes from the free reciprocal interplay of differences that are confronting each other with equal rights to be different, equal rights to their own identity.” At the same time,

how difficult it is for our human nature to allow for such an interplay, what titanic emotional forces can be working against it… in order to “realize” other people, to make them and their uniqueness fully real to oneself, one has to be able to break down the barrier of space between self and other, yet at the same time to be able to maintain it, this seems to be the paradox of creativity. (pp. 143-144)

These titanic emotional forces are the primitive wishes and fears of devouring or being devoured by the mother, of total control or total surrender in our longing to be one with the mother. Destruction precludes discovery. The give and take of mutuality is the creativity of successful mothers, and successful analyses. Discovery transcends destructiveness. Piera Aulagnier writes about the primary, necessary, natural violence of the mother's verbalizing her child—talking for him before he can do it for himself—which represents the pre-I of the infant and that will determine

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