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Gabbard, G.O. Williams, P. (2004). Editorial. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 85(1):1-2.

(2004). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 85(1):1-2


Glen O. Gabbard and Paul Williams

The psychoanalytic community was shaken three years ago when a riveting account of Wynne Godley's damaging analysis with Masud Khan was published in the London Review of Books. Although it occurred four decades earlier, Godley's vivid and detailed recounting had an immediacy to it that conveyed all the pain and humiliation of a trauma that had occurred yesterday. He described an alarming series of boundary violations, beginning with the first session, that left the reader aghast. All who read this deeply disconcerting essay emerged with a grave concern about the vulnerability of analytic patients to exploitation by corrupt or seriously disturbed analysts.

The British Psychoanalytic Society was profoundly disturbed that this egregious distortion of psychoanalytic treatment could have occurred under its nose. Donald Campbell, President of the British Society at the time Godley's retrospective account appeared, commissioned an investigation of Khan's training and advancement within the British Institute and Society. Anne-Marie Sandler, as Chair of the Society's Ethics Committee, spearheaded that investigation. Sandler felt it was essential to publish the findings from that investigation and did so in the form of a paper that she submitted to IJP, where her paper underwent the usual peer review process. Her report of that investigation appears in this issue of the Journal. Her account raises compelling questions about institutional barriers that may make it difficult for miscarriages of psychoanalytic treatment to come to the attention of those entrusted with the training of psychoanalysts.

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