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Nebbiosi, G. (2007). Response to Margaret Black and Alan Kindler. Int. J. Psychoanal. Self Psychol., 2(3):271-273.

(2007). International Journal of Psychoanalytic Self Psychology, 2(3):271-273

Response to Margaret Black and Alan Kindler

Gianni Nebbiosi, Ph.D.

In the “Editorial Philosophy” of the first issue of Psychoanalytic Dialogues, Steven A. Mitchell (1991) wrote: “We need to learn to regard differences in theoretical perspectives not as unfortunate deviations from one accurate understanding, but as fortunate expressions of the countless ways in which human experience can be organized” (p. 6). I was reminded of these words when I read Margaret Black's and Alan Kindler's discussions of Tano's clinical case. The sensitivity, respect, and ability to dialogue of my two discussants are to me not only an honor, but they also make me “feel” how useful dialogue really is, precisely because when one feels completely understood, new perspectives and alternatives can emerge. Such a process is similar in many respects to that which patient and analyst should experience in the analytic setting.

In my analysis with Tano, Margaret observed how a patient can sometimes “push us into roles and experiences that have been missing in their lives,” and I agree completely with her. I also agree that Tano “needed to ‘make'Nebbiosi worry about him” and that the impasse we created together allowed for “some expressions of Tano's rage at his abandoning parents.” This was in fact one of the most important issues that we dealt with in the three years of analysis that followed the clinical situation I described. One of the things I learned from Tano (and from Margaret's discussion) is that understanding another person is not just about understanding who that person is but also who that person can be in a different context. Now I too am convinced that Tano needed a safer affective context than the ones he had experienced during his childhood in order to bring out an assertiveness he was absolutely capable of. On this point Margaret was extremely sharp in her discussion.


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