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Laabs-Siemon, V. (2019). Review of Intimacy and Separateness in Psychoanalysis, by Warren S. Poland, M.D. New York, NY: Routledge, 2017. 206 pp.. Contemp. Psychoanal., 55(1-2):139-145.
Review of Intimacy and Separateness in Psychoanalysis, by Warren S. Poland, M.D. New York, NY: Routledge, 2017. 206 pp.
Valerie Laabs-Siemon, M.S.
Welcome to the world of Warren Poland, the psychoanalyst we need to have and want to become. In his acknowledgements, he shows us who he is, how he treasures humanness and development. He thanks us, the readers: “Without you these words would be dead; with you they can take their place in the continuous conversation that is the sinew and blood of our human progress. None is intended as the last word. I thank you” (p. xvi).
I first met Warren Poland about 10 years ago. I was serving as program chair for the Wisconsin Psychoanalytic Society, when I had the good fortune to see Dr. Poland in the audience of the plenary at the meetings of the American Psychoanalytic Association. I invited him to speak for us and he graciously accepted. He’s spoken to our group twice, sharing his papers, “The Analyst’s Fears” and “Slouching Toward Mortality.” Poland creates a sense of intimacy and vitality in his lectures, allowing the audience to imagine it is the first to benefit from his insights. This tone is present throughout the book as well, making it a lively read.
We have a small study group with whom I shared this book. Our group includes a young doctoral candidate, a few in active practice, and some retired members. Everyone expressed awe and invigoration with Poland’s emotionally evocative and poetic descriptions of analytic approach and his stories of learning from his wife, Janice Poland, patients, colleagues, and esteemed authors such as Chodorow, Ogden, Freud, Proust, Shakespeare, and Shelley. We read our favorite segments aloud to each other, shared associations and marveled at the way his writing teaches and sparks desire to read, think, and share more; it makes us grateful to have a community.
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