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Milner, M. (1969). The Hands of the Living God: An Account of a Psycho-analytic Treatment. The International Psycho-Analytical Library, 76:1-426. London: The Hogarth Press and the Institute of Psycho-Analysis.

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(1969). The International Psycho-Analytical Library, 76:1-426. London: The Hogarth Press and the Institute of Psycho-Analysis.

The Hands of the Living God: An Account of a Psycho-analytic Treatment

Marion Milner

Foreword to "The Hands of the Living God: An Account of a Psycho-analytic Treatment"

Schizophrenia is about something. But what is it about? Very good clinical descriptions exist, but how to get farther? No doubt the best way to learn more is to be involved with a schizoid or a schizophrenic person. We may find ourselves in such a position by mistake or by design, and so we learn a lot, usually much more than we can grip, so that we end up bewildered. We get to know a great deal through being involved, but being involved we find it difficult to stand aside, to become detached enough to think, to feel the full significance of each phrase; to integrate all by the use of available theory and the construction of new theory.

Marion Milner provides us with an opportunity to look at a schizoid person without the involvement that makes thinking so difficult. By some miracle of detachment she has been able to keep track of the myriad details of a long treatment and to collate these in such a way that she and the patient do together give us a vicarious experience of the schizoid processes. All we have to do is to settle down to an involvement not with a patient but with a brilliantly objective and complete case-description.

I have been fortunate in that I have been one of those who have known both Marion Milner and the patient over a period of decades, and I have watched both of them with amazement as they let time pass by while a process tending towards wholeness or health was taking its own time to become realized. Imagine my pleasure and excitement at being allowed to read the manuscript, now this book, in which the author uses her fine intellect and her special reflective capacity (already known to us through her other writings) and her modest certainty to give us a unique presentation of a treatment of great length and complexity, and yet (as the book shows) capable of being given as a unit. For I do believe the reader will find here a unit, not a unification of an infinity of bits. The unit is essentially the patient's unit self, but this needed Marion Milner's unit self if it was to become actual instead of potential.

Surely this book will become a source book. It rings true in every detail. Any bit can be taken out and discussed,

- ix -

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