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Robin, L.G. (2013). Negation of Awe: Shame in the Burgeoning Psychoanalyst. Psychoanal Q., 82(1):125-132.

(2013). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 82(1):125-132

Negation of Awe: Shame in the Burgeoning Psychoanalyst

Lisa G. Robin

I might not have had the guts to dare comment on this beautifully written, timely, and I think important article by Kravis, “The Analyst's Hatred of Analysis,” were it not for the privilege of being invited to speak from the perspective of the so-called young psychoanalyst. I should like to note that my remarks are intended to reflect my own reaction to Kravis's paper, as well as my own thoughts about how to understand the intense negative affects that are sometimes stirred within us.

Kravis touches upon what I believe to be the cusp of a new zeitgeist of contemporary psychoanalytic practice in which we are free to examine and discuss how our humanness, in all its gnarled glory, colors our experience of the work that we do. In a style that is deeply personal, deeply intimate, and exquisitely spot on, he presents a novel thesis to address the ways in which we cope with the vagaries of conducting clinical psychoanalysis for a living. Chief among the sources of our discontent, he tells us, are feelings of fraudulence that emerge when we are left to wonder whether what we are doing is “really” psychoanalysis. Resentment arising from paltry demand and skepticism about what we offer—even from our very own patients—has the potential to sour our ideals over time, leading to complacency or full-on burnout.

Moreover, we choose to (or must) ply our craft in spite of a preponderance of ignorance and antipathy toward psychoanalysis in the communities that we serve.

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