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Stimmel, B. (2004). The analyst's analyst within By Lora Heims Tessman Hillsdale, NJ: Analytic Press. 2003. 372 pp.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 85(3):794-799.

(2004). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 85(3):794-799

The analyst's analyst within By Lora Heims Tessman Hillsdale, NJ: Analytic Press. 2003. 372 pp.

Review by:
Barbara Stimmel

A non-analyst friend picked up this book from my desk and had many questions. A published novelist herself, she wondered what the audience would be for such a book, would non-analysts enjoy it, and would subjective reports by analysts be reliable, being members as they are of the same profession as the analysts they describe? Her most pressing question, though, was whether the complexity of experience for analysts in psychoanalysis is noticeably and importantly different to that of non-analysts also in psychoanalysis. An analyst friend, also a published author, believes strongly that analysts should remain in psychoanalysis continuously throughout their careers. However, he refuses to state this in public for fear of seeming too confrontational, or at least to avoid the disapproval of colleagues and friends.

What is interesting about my friends' comments is their reciprocal mindsets regarding the importance of psychoanalysis for psychoanalysts, and implicitly the curiosity it arouses. Also, as is most clear with my analyst friend, there is something forbidden, exciting, shameful(?) about the relationships psychoanalysts share with their own psychoanalysts. To wit, there is an unspoken sense of transgression in asking colleagues who their analysts are, while at the same time it is noticeable when a colleague volunteers this information, sometimes even in print. What about the analytic relationship is so charged, with the analyst's identity sometimes being a point of pride, sometimes a secret to be kept? It must have something to do with our impossible profession and the corresponding impossibility of ever fully comprehending the relationship residing at its core and its meaning for psychological change.

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