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Ellman, S. (1999). Response to Discussion of Enactment Panel. J. Clin. Psychoanal., 8(4):595-596.

(1999). Journal of Clinical Psychoanalysis, 8(4):595-596

Response to Discussion of Enactment Panel Related Papers

Steven Ellman, Ph.D.

Since the commentary from the three distinguished analysts covered so many points I will restrict myself to two or three issues that I feel have been misunderstood.

1.   Let me first quote Dr. Jacobs when he says “Steven Ellman, for instance, speaks of enactments as deriving from intense transference-countertransference interactions, ones that cannot be adequately contained and processed by the analyst.” Jacobs goes on to say that “While it is true that many enactments spring from situations of intense emotional involvement, as frequently encountered are those enactments, often critically important ones, that are embedded in correct and proper technique and which may be expressed in moments of quietude and emotional calm.” Dr. Jacobs goes on to point out the importance of these type of enactments.

I can only assume he did not read my comments where I state on p. 40, “One of the difficulties with the way the concept of enactment has been used is that it implies a dramatic occurrence. In my view there are silent mutual enactments that occur over a long period of time in an analysis, where little is analyzed. This may pose the greatest danger to a truly alive analytic process.” I can only guess as to why Dr. Jacobs missed this statement and others that expressed the same point. It may be that I have not fully explicated what I mean by narcissistic disequilibrium which in my view is central to what I have called analyst induced enactments. At any rate I thought I had made it clear that the silent longstanding enactments embedded in “proper” technique are perhaps the greatest danger to a successful analytic process.

2.   When Dr. Furer corrects my referring to Dr. Edith Jacobson as an outsider at the New York Psychoanalytic Institute he adds little to my previous understanding of the situation.

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