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Godley, W. (2004). Commentary. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 85(1):42-43.

(2004). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 85(1):42-43

Commentary

Wynne Godley

Dr Sandler's response to my article (Godley, 2001) raises much wider issues than those about which I wrote. I am pleased that creative use has been made of my very personal protest. I am also grateful to Dr Sandler for her summary of my own story. Her sensitive and kind account of those ‘old, far-off, unhappy things’ gave me a new perspective on them. I was moved and felt that restitution had been made. I am grateful, in addition, to the IJP Editors for inviting my comments on Dr Sandler's paper without, I should add, making any conditions. Yet, after a great deal of thought, there is little that I want to add beyond a few obiter dicta.

First, Dr Sandler does not conceal, but does not emphasise, the distressing fact that D. W. Winnicott was in thrall to Masud Khan. DWW knew about Khan's destructive antics but was not man enough to intervene. Second, an improved complaints procedure, though extremely important, could never have brought Khan to book. Patients, like infants, may be unable to identify abuse; they may even suppose that the perverted process which is destroying them is veritably building them up into something special. It is, moreover, unimaginable that the sick and arrogant Khan would have submitted himself meaningfully to ethical supervision by his peers. There is only one conclusion to be drawn: Khan should never have been admitted to the Society in the first place. It is questionable whether majority voting was an appropriate procedure, particularly as a third of the membership voted against his election.

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