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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 psychoanalytic clinical setting. I have been interested in this topic for some time, but became particularly so following two clinical presentations I recently gave, in which I provided detailed accounts of psychoanalytic sessions with two patients, both of whom had been in analysis for some time. These presentations were appreciated and led to lively discussion.

In both settings, intricate and interesting alternative approaches to the understanding and interpretation of the material were offered. Following the first presentation, there was much debate about the extent to which the patient's behaviour was best conceived in terms of his conflicts about feeling well understood or rather was a product of the analyst's interpretive stance repeating childhood trauma. In the second presentation there was an equally incisive discussion about whether the patient's difficulty in developing his thoughts about himself reflected a narcissistic conflict about dependence or a defence against a homosexual entanglement. Any psychoanalyst who has taken part in the discussion of clinical material will have experienced the kind of discussion I have mentioned—especially if the psychoanalyst provides an account of detailed process. The presence in this issue of the Journal of the discussions of two of the three plenary presentations at the recent Congress in Amsterdam—which, together with the clinical presentations themselves, will be taken as read—provide a context for the ideas I want to develop, allowing me to forego describing an illustrative clinical presentation and discussion of my own.

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