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Stern, D.B. (2013). Philip, Me, and Not Me: A Personal and Professional Introduction to the Special Issue Celebrating the Work of Philip Bromberg. Contemp. Psychoanal., 49(3):311-322.

(2013). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 49(3):311-322

Philip, Me, and Not Me: A Personal and Professional Introduction to the Special Issue Celebrating the Work of Philip Bromberg

Donnel B. Stern, Ph.D.

I am pleased and honored to contribute this introduction to an issue devoted to the work of Philip Bromberg. The reasons for my feelings are both professional and personal. The professional reasons are obvious: Philip is one of the most influential psychoanalysts of our era. My work and thinking have been influenced as much by Philip as by anyone I know. I will detail some of that influence later on. But the personal reasons that I am pleased to be writing this piece go even deeper. Philip is one of my closest friends. He's always had my back.

I've known Philip a long time. I arrived in New York City in the fall of 1976, to attend the William Alanson White Institute. The world was a different place then—in the larger sense, of course, but also on the level of our little psychoanalytic world. Psychologists at institutes of the American Psychoanalytic Association still had to sign pledges that they were “research candidates” who would not engage in clinical practice; Klein, Winnicott, and Fairbairn were new and hard to understand for most Americans; Bion and Lacan were not even on the map, at least not yet in New York; countertransference was a new and controversial topic in clinical process. I had entered psychoanalytic training without having really even known a psychoanalyst (I'd had psychoanalytically oriented supervisors, but none who was formally trained), so it wasn't only the ideas and practices of psychoanalysis that I didn't yet understand—I didn't understand the politics, either. But because I soon immersed myself in the psychoanalytic literature, I did notice within a fairly brief period of time that my teachers at White had little opportunity to publish anywhere but in Contemporary Psychoanalysis and one or two other nonmainstream outlets. I had to attend to the painful fact that these teachers of mine, whose work had begun to inspire me and in whom I was beginning to feel such pride, were not accepted as psychoanalysts by the analysts of certain other institutes in town.

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