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Held-Weiss, R. (1984). The Interpersonal Tradition and its Development:—Some Implications for Training. Contemp. Psychoanal., 20:344-362.

(1984). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 20:344-362

The Interpersonal Tradition and its Development:—Some Implications for Training

Roberta Held-Weiss, Ph.D.

PSYCHOANALYSIS, WHILE NOT AN IMPOSSIBLE profession, is one which produces an experience difficult to describe. What is impossible is the recovery of the shape and texture of the feelings that enliven the experience of an analysis. The effort to do so may reflect the original event but the analytic experience is bound to remain in the shadows. And like a shadow pursued, it eludes precise definition. Its pursuit is then of necessity directed by evocation and suggestion.

The desire to endow experience with meaning, the need for comprehensive explanation, to account for disparate events is, of course, basic to thinking life. Yet theory is always an imperfection, sometimes heuristic, sometimes irrelevant, most frequently a source of haggle amongst colleagues. At best it creates new forms for observation. But its consequence is greatest when it determines practice; prescribes it, and sets limits on it. The ideology which provides structure also stultifies. One is reminded that Cezanne's achievement lay in his effort to make something solid out of impressionism, in his effort to wrest structure from the fluidity of experience, not in the structure itself; for the form of a structure is most clearly seen when its living energy is gone, like a city abandoned.


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