Editors' Note: Shortly after we began our editorship, Donnel Stern suggested that we devote a Special Issue to Philip Bromberg. We loved this idea, and got the ball rolling, requesting an interview with Philip and inviting a number of contributors to reflect on his body of work. There is no question that Philip's contributions to psychoanalysis over the past several decades are enormous—indeed, immeasurable. By elucidating the role of developmental trauma in shame-laden dissociative processes that impair relatedness, and by providing us with a language (e.g., multiple self-states) to comprehend this phenomenon, he has not only significantly expanded the scope of our theoretical understanding, but given us a way to see patients through fresh eyes and to connect empathically with them.
We met with Philip, our former teacher/supervisor, now friend and colleague, for more than two hours one wintry day. Philip requested that we send him a list of questions prior to our sit-down, and we did. Making our task much easier, he had prepared answers to these questions. During our time with him, we asked additional questions. The result is a rich and interactive exploration of Philip's clinical and theoretical thinking, as well as many personal reflections. Sitting with Philip was a treat; in the end, we knew that we had captured an extraordinary snapshot of what it is like to be a patient or student of Philip's, and how it feels to interact with him in his consulting room. We are very grateful.
In the interview that follows, questions in italics are the “formal” questions that we posed before our interview. You will see that his answers took us in many interesting directions. We hope, in reading this, you will feel as enriched as we did in his presence.
Don Greif, Ph.D.
Ruth H. Livingston, Ph.D.
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