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Mitrani, J.L. (2017). Psychoanalysis: Not Just a Luxury. Fort Da, 23(1):9-20.

(2017). Fort Da, 23(1):9-20

Psychoanalysis: Not Just a Luxury

Judith L. Mitrani, Ph.D.

I realize that there may be those of you who only have an intellectual or academic curiosity about psychoanalysis, as well as those of you who may very well hold the future of psychoanalysis in your hands. I hope that what I have to say will be of interest to all.

While looking back, I was reminded — while thinking of what to speak about to such a heterogeneous audience — of something that Wilfred Bion included in the preface to his autobiography, The Long Weekend, 1897-1919: Part of a Life (1982). There, he wrote that his book was “about the relationships of one man and not about the people, communities, or groups whose names are mentioned.” He confided, “If I could have resorted to abstractions, I would have done so. [However] such a procedure, without any preparation, would leave the reader grap pling with meaningless manipulations of jargon” (p. 9).

Curiously enough, not unlike Bion, I had indeed been tempted to “resort to abstractions” that would have been less self-revealing than what I am about to tell you. But, as Bion pointed out, “that would result in an exercise in the meaningless manipulation of jargon.” So, instead of manipulating jargon, I will speak from my experience as best I can in plain language, which may say little about others, but instead lean more toward the personal and even the autobiographical. If I succeed in the task set forward, what I am about to say may have an aesthetic rather than an anesthetic impact on those of you who have sacrificed a lovely day of leisure to attend this meeting.

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