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Hamilton, V. (1994). Reflections on Effective Provision: Commentary on John Lindon's “Gratification and Provision in Psychoanalysis”. Psychoanal. Dial., 4(4):609-617.

(1994). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 4(4):609-617

Reflections on Effective Provision: Commentary on John Lindon's “Gratification and Provision in Psychoanalysis” Related Papers

Victoria Hamilton, Ph.D.

John lindon's thought-provoking and courageous paper brings to the forefront of our thinking two central but hidden concepts in psychoanalysis: provision and need. My discussion focuses on three aspects of this topic: 1) the theoretical issue of abstinence and provision; 2) discussion of some of Lindon's clinical examples in the light of the question, why did provisions work in these cases? 3) alternative conceptions of neutrality, advanced by British psychoanalysts, that link up with some of the ideas proposed by John Lindon.

Why abstinence rather than provision? Jonathan Bennett (1986), a contemporary philosopher, has described the philosopher's task as follows: “to take warm, familiar aspects of the human condition and look at them coldly and with the eye of a stranger” (p. 619). Analysts who adopt this rationalist stance will attempt to erase the relational and emotional contact between themselves and their analysands. But, as Lindon observes, nearly all analysts since, and including, Freud have stepped outside Freud's recommended analytic frame and introduced “parameters” or “extraanalytic” interventions. In the literature, of which Lindon gives us an extensive sampling, we find an array of these extraanalytic concepts—the treatment alliance, the real relationship, extratransference interpretation, holding, containment, etc., all of which are introduced to cover the many human interactions that occur between patient and analyst. These so-called extraanalytic “parameters” are sneaked in for the special case—for instance, the borderline patient—but in fact are probably used in all cases by all but the most orthodox analysts.

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