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Poland, W.S. (2009). On: On Becoming a Psychoanalyst. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 90(5):1155-1156.
(2009). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 90(5):1155-1156
Letters to the Editors
On: On Becoming a Psychoanalyst
Warren S. Poland
With the understanding and poetic evocative expression one has come to expect from them, Gabbard and Ogden portray the journey of becoming a psychoanalyst and movingly illuminate the growing pains of anyone's maturing to open-mindedness. Attentive to the difficulties in one's becoming an analyst and developing one's own unique identity and voice, they close by saying: “It has been our experience that, when the analyst is off balance, he does his best analytic work” (Gabbard and Ogden, 2009, p. 325).
Appreciating the wisdom in their observation, I first thought that it held true so long as another unspoken underlying principle also held true, that is, that the analyst works in the service of the patient and the patient's analysis, that the analyst's clinical associations, feelings, and introspection are to be subsumed to the service of the clinical task. I doubt they would differ.
However, further reflection clarified a back-of-the-mind discomfort I felt while reading their very valuable contribution. What they say seems importantly valid provided that their presentation of the analytic process is not taken to exclude contrasting points of view.
The authors succeed in making clear what they impart, and they are not obligated to write all other possible views at the same time. Nonetheless, emphasis on the clinical partners’ developing an analytic third, that experience and language co-constructed by the dyad, risks a reading or misreading that minimizes or obscures what is uniquely one-person in each of the clinical pair as well as what is intersubjective as experienced by the two separate people in the analytic office.
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