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Tuckett, D. (1993). Some Thoughts on the Presentation and Discussion of the Clinical Material of Psychoanalysis. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 74:1175-1189.

(1993). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 74:1175-1189

Some Thoughts on the Presentation and Discussion of the Clinical Material of Psychoanalysis

David Tuckett


This paper is intended to stimulate consideration of the problems we face as psychoanalysts in attempting to discuss our basic data: the material from the clinical setting. Some brief comments are made about the importance of this issue for progress in our field, in the context of several attempts by the author to present and discuss process material from psychoanalytical treatment, and also in the light of discussion at psychoanalytical conferences and congresses, such as the Amsterdam sessions devoted to the clinical papers by Jacobs and Duncan.

The question of what is going when psychoanalysts present clinical material to each other and discuss it is approached: firstly, by drawing attention to some features of the context in which discussion of that report takes place; secondly, by considering what it is we are doing when we select what we report of a psychoanalytic session; and, thirdly, by exploring certain inherent features of the psychoanalytic situation itself and their impact on the construction of a report and the response to it of an audience. Taken together, it is argued, these three elements have quite far-reaching implications for how presenter and audience might usefully play their parts in clinical discussion, and on the nature of the culture of enquiry we need to develop if we are to have hopes of building psychoanalytic theory and technique grounded in observations of practice.

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