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(1992). Reactions to Nini Herman's article on Ann France: (Free Associations, vol. 2, part 2, no. 22). Free Associations, 3(2):283-289.

(1992). Free Associations, 3(2):283-289

Critical Comment

Reactions to Nini Herman's article on Ann France: (Free Associations, vol. 2, part 2, no. 22)

Dear Sir,

If Nini Herman learnt any ‘enduring lesson’ from her patient, this does not seem to extend to the way her own ‘conceptual luggage’ permeates her account of an interesting clinical problem, finally breaking out in the form of an unwarranted attack on another therapist's work. What is so depressingly familiar about this stance is the way it claims to know something (about Ann France) by locating any doubts about the status of this knowledge elsewhere (in Harriet's work). Coming from someone who enthuses about ‘classically rigorous analysis’, such hasty conclusions drawn from the reading of a book and one conversation make a sad caricature of said analysis. Indeed, it is difficult to see where there might be a place for analysis at all, squeezed as it is between Herman's account of her own painful past and her wished-for rigour. However, when it comes to the application of such rigour, we quickly discover its place occupied by something else.

For instance, if the remark concerning the ‘slip’ serves to inform Herman of something she does, why not equally the remark made by France concerning Harriet's paraplegic husband? Any inconsistency in the first remark seen as implicating Herman whilst the second doesn't is only apparent.

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