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Olinick, S.L. (1982). The Gossiping Analyst. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 9:483-485.

(1982). International Review of Psycho-Analysis, 9:483-485

The Gossiping Analyst

Stanley L. Olinick, M.D.


Between the writing of a paper and its being read there lie many tales, many slips. Therefore, I was impelled, on reading Dr Fonseca's letter (Vol. 9: 355–7), to re-read my paper. Often a chastening experience for a writer, I found, to begin with, that the title jarred me as unaesthetic and harsh-sounding. It did have the value of telling what the paper aimed at discussing and the cacophony, I thought, resided with 'gossiping' and not with 'psychoanalyst'. I realized further that it was here that Dr Fonseca and I parted company, for she deals with her own version of the psychoanalyst while I dealt, more or less successfully, with the analyst when he gossips.

In my opening paragraph I said that I hoped to deal with gossiping among analysts solely as an anomaly that requires explanation, setting aside matters of ethics, morality, and legality. I discussed the gossiping analyst as one who was temporarily led from dedicated confidentiality about his patients to 'talking shop' about them, using elements of his work as a paradoxical means of finding relief from tensions associated with that work as well as from stresses encountered in his extra-analytic life. In so doing he does not differ from the businessman, the bureaucrat, or any other professional. The paradox is solved with recognition that the shoptalk is a vehicle or a stage setting with a purpose other than to impart or receive substantive information or counsel. Questions of moral evaluation, I must repeat, I preferred to leave to others, my concern having been with the individual motivational psychology of these social phenomena.

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