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Stelzer, J. (1989). Notes on instrumental dissociation and psychosomatic pathology. Free Associations, 1W(18):62-72.

(1989). Free Associations, 1W(18):62-72

Notes on instrumental dissociation and psychosomatic pathology

Joseph Stelzer

These ‘notes’ should be preceded by an explanatory introduction. My critical readers, as well as many colleagues to whom I have previously given this article to read, have agreed that even where I touch on interesting issues, they require further elaboration. In addition, the relationship between many of these points is not clear enough. Although all my readers encouraged me to continue, I am not sure I am able to. I need to devote months, if not years, to elaborating this process further. I question if the process of individual, intellectual elaboration and better assembly would not force intellectual coherence in an artificial and premature manner. My guess is that it would be better if this process of elaborating these ‘notes’ fully were a group activity taken up by my readers after I have published them. So, faced with the alternatives of keeping them in a drawer, possibly for ever, or publishing them in their unfinished state, I prefer the latter.

Another point which I would like to clarify is that the therapeutic attitude which I suggest later in this article, as opposed to ‘instrumental dissociation’, is not my ‘invention’. I feel more familiar with the work of Winnicott (1971) and Bion (1970), but others also postulate a similar ‘listening perspective’ to clinical material.

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