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Searles, H.F. (1997). Discussion. Free Associations, 7(2):280-293.

(1997). Free Associations, 7(2):280-293


Harold F. Searles

I Trust That You can hear me all right. Now, I hope to have a very few minutes in the general discussion period to say a few words about some of my personal reactions to all this. I mistrust, however, trying to say that at this juncture for fear I will become too digressive, and I do want to attempt to do justice to each of these three papers in my allotted 30 minutes.

As to Dr Hirsch's paper, I know him to be a person who has published a good deal and I have read some of his work in past years and admired it a good deal. And I feel that in his paper that he presented today, he shows a rare comprehension of what I have been trying to say over the years. He mentions that at the end of the initial meeting with his intended personal analyst, ‘I was informed that my prospective analyst couldn't see me as a training patient, didn't view me as analysable and diagnosed me as narcissistic personality disorder …’, and so on. I simply want to mention that I had a really quite similar experience with my first training analyst. I said something in the initial session about my mother and then I said something a few minutes later of a totally contradictory nature about her and he expressed puzzlement and tried to put these together and I gave an airy wave of my hand and said, ‘Ambivalence’. But I wasn't conscious of any ambivalence, see. This is just an example. Anyway, he gave up in the middle of the intended third session; so that was my experience with my first attempt at psychoanalysis. Dr Hirsch mentions the person's dislike of him and I think certainly that kind of thing is true. I think it should also be said about the role of transference, that his first analyst surely had some kind of transference to him that got in the way, as was undoubtedly true in my instance.

Dr Hirsch manifests a very impressive grasp of relevant literature, much of which is new to me personally. But it's very relevant.

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