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Witenberg, E.G. (1971). Discussion. Contemp. Psychoanal., 8(1):47-47.

(1971). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 8(1):47-47


Earl G. Witenberg, M.D.

DR. SZALITA in this paper makes a plea for a broader life and professional experience for the analyst of the individual. Disheartened by analyses in which one of the outcomes was divorce, surprised by her patient being different under circumstances different from the analytic situation, she has moved to family study, group study, and Kibbutz study. Her goal is quite clear—she wants to narrow the gap between conceptual framework and concrete experience. This is a task well understood by particularly Sullivan and Fromm and Thompson.

I feel she would agree that family interviews are only one way of narrowing this gap. Other ways are the reading of great literature—wherein the wisdom of the centuries and the interplay between different people are portrayed—the viewing of drama and the leading of a full life by the analyst. Most analysts spend most of their free time with analysts. There is a whole world out there with different kinds of people!

Dr. Szalita is also saying that the quality of presence is heightened by the use of these ancillary interviews. The quality of presence is composed of factors involving attention and observation. She shows that issues around interaction—interpersonal communication, both verbal and nonverbal—are heightened by the family or couple interview. She makes the necessary point that clarifying the parataxic distortions in the me-you are not enough to clarify parataxic or characterological problems with other people in other situations.

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