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Davidson, L. (2011). Responses to Dr. Forrest. J. Amer. Acad. Psychoanal., 39(4):617-617.

(2011). Journal of American Academy of Psychoanalysis, 39(4):617-617

Responses to Dr. Forrest Related Papers

Leah Davidson, M.D.

While I respect Dr. Forrest's point of view and appreciate the need for supporting research I can not agree with his position about soliciting gifts from patients whether they are donated anonymously or not. My reasons for this are as follows:

1.   Any suggestion from a therapist generates transferential and countertransferential issues, not always immediately obvious.

2.   The question of gratitude and the patient's feelings of obligation in both directions will generate a dependency that postpones working through and termination issues—a point taught by the late Earl Wittenberg.

3.   Patients have friends with whom they share information. Some may not be as wealthy as others, and feel resentful or less valued if they cannot give.

4.   In the past our discipline has been criticized for too much involvement with social issues. Research is not therapy and stigmatization is a social issue best tackled elsewhere, not in the treatment room unless personally relevant.

5.   Our basic philosophy should be commitment to the therapy in the room not philanthropy, which is a questionable attitude to needs for many of us.

6.   Are we helping our government to shelve responsibility to our discipline when we do this? Should research be mainly privately funded?

7.   A long time ago the late Lawrence Kubie wrote a relevant paper called “The flight from patients.” This seems to me to be another such variation justified by a worthy cause, but not really appropriate.

A colleague whom I asked for an opinion about the solicitation matter told me the following vignette. A patient who was very wealthy was referred to a nutritionist who on discovering the patient's financial status asked the referring therapist whether he could solicit money for his nutritional research from him.

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