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Imber, R.R. (1998). A Psychoanalytic Bard: A Review of Melting the Darkness: The Dyad and Principles of Clinical Practice by Warren S. Poland. Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson, 1996. xvi + 310 pp.. Contemp. Psychoanal., 34(1):143-146.

(1998). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 34(1):143-146

A Psychoanalytic Bard: A Review of Melting the Darkness: The Dyad and Principles of Clinical Practice by Warren S. Poland. Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson, 1996. xvi + 310 pp.

Ruth R. Imber, Ph.D.

This extremely well written volume brings together many of the ideas Warren Poland has explored during his career as an analyst. His recognition of the interplay of transferential and counter-transferential forces has certainly provided a breath of fresh air in the orthodox journals in which he has primarily published. Hirsch (1996) places Poland somewhere in the middle range of those Freudian analysts who display an interpersonal sensibility in their writings. After reading through this carefully constructed integration of Poland's views, I agree with Hirsch, but with some serious reservations. The title Poland has chosen, from Shakespeare's The Tempest, refers to the replacement of ignorance with rationality or reason. Most analysts would agree with this goal of increased self-knowledge. Poland, in addition, wants to demonstrate a modern awareness of the interpersonal dimension of this process. I can't resist the temptation to cite another fragment from the same play, and say this reader was not entirely persuaded that Poland fully rejoices in a perceived “brave new world.”

His writing does take account of the inevitable two-person field that characterizes our understanding of psychoanalytic action today. For instance, in an idea first formulated in his 1984 paper on neutrality, he emphasizes the impossibility of the analyst ever to be simply a nonparticipating observer of the patient: “we are aware that exploration of the patient's mind unfolds within a unique clinical dyad.

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