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Hopkins, L.B. (1998). D. W. Winnicott's Analysis of Masud Khan: A Preliminary Study of Failures of Object Usage. Contemp. Psychoanal., 34(1):5-47.

(1998). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 34(1):5-47

D. W. Winnicott's Analysis of Masud Khan: A Preliminary Study of Failures of Object Usage

Linda B. Hopkins, Ph.D.

We all hope that our patients will finish with us and forget us, and that they will find living itself to be the therapy that makes sense.

—D. W. Winnicott, 1968

M. Masud R. Khan was a psychoanalyst, editor, and author who saw D. W. Winnicott in analysis for more than fifteen years, beginning in 1951. He began his treatment endowed with intellectual brilliance, a charismatic personality, physical resilience, and significant advantages of wealth and education. After a period of enormous professional success and world renown, after marriage to a woman he professed to have loved and the forming of intense and gratifying friendships, Khan died in 1989, alone except for his servants and a few horrified friends. He had destroyed his career through scandal and ruined his body through decades of alcoholism and heavy smoking. Winnicott, who is among the most influential analytic theorists since Freud (Berman, 1996) and a highly regarded and beloved clinician, had failed to help his analysand to overcome his pathology in order to live a good life.

This article tells the story of the Winnicott-Khan analysis. There is no doubt that the analysis had its successes in certain areas, and these are discussed. The focus, however, is on what went wrong and why. The central thesis is that even though Winnicott wrote extensively and creatively on the importance in analysis of engaging in and surviving hate experiences, he did not apply his own theory effectively in his clinical work with Khan.

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