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Bollas, C. Marra, P. (2007). Conversations with Clinicians. Fort Da, 13(2):51-66.

(2007). Fort Da, 13(2):51-66

Conversations with Clinicians

Christopher Bollas and In Conversation with Patricia Marra, MFT

Adam Phillipsi hails Christopher Bollas as “the most evocative psychoanalytic writer we have.” André Greenii describes him as

a psychoanalyst who does not write like a psychoanalyst …. The people he writes aboutthe people, not the patientsare not only like ourselves but all the same like shadows of ourselves. They belong to a familial yet enigmatic kind met in the world of fictioncharacters, as they are calledthough more real than so many of our fellow men.

Bollas has written numerous books that have become seminal reading for anyone who appreciates psychoanalytic thinking. The Shadow of the Object, written in 1987, leads the prolific list of books he has published over the past 20 years, each of which rigorously grapples with the unconscious in all of its communications and manifestations. Between 2004 and 2006, Bollas turned to fiction, publishing a novella trilogy and a compilation of his plays, one of which, Theraplay, was produced at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre workshop in 2005. His most recent book is The Freudian Moment, which was published earlier in 2007.

We began this interview in January of this year and conversed by email over the next five months. Although I missed the energy of an in-person interview, I was grateful for having the time between our back and forth communication to think about Bollas's deeply thoughtful responses. I hope you enjoy reading this conversation as much as I enjoyed taking part in it.

PM It has been about six months since we arranged to do an interview for fort da. I keep trying to think of a good place to start, and I'm not having much luck with that, so I decided to just start anywhere. Which takes me to wondering what it's like for you to write fiction and how does it compare with writing nonfiction — if writing “fiction” brings you closer to the truth of things — including psychoanalysis — than writing “facts.”

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