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Harris, A. (2017). A Panel on Ethics: Introduction. Psychoanal. Dial., 27(4):389-391.

(2017). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 27(4):389-391

A Panel on Ethics: Introduction

Adrienne E. Harris, Ph.D.

Imagining this panel, I have had the hope that a dialogue about psychoanalysis among analysts with overlapping and different perspectives could thrive in these pages. I feel this hope has been deeply and beautifully answered with this set of papers.

Several years ago, Phoebe Cirio organized a panel for the American Psychoanalytic Association. Ironically, even provocatively, called “That’s Not Psychoanalysis,” the panel posed the question of how analysts from different theoretical homes came to some founding definition of what made their work psychoanalytic, for them. But this task was set against the title, which all agreed was the horrible threatening judgment that seemed perfectly designed to shame and diminish an analyst presenting his or her work. The ultimate putdown.

Dominique Scarfone was a member of that panel, and for me (another panel member struggling with this task) what was electrifying and original about his essay was that he approached the question of what was psychoanalytic not through metapsychology or technique or models of development but through the lens of ethics. He takes a topic usually set at the edge of training, an add-on to traditional kinds of course work and supervision, and sets it center stage.

In using ethics as a guide (and Levinas perhaps as a guardian angel), Scarfone grounds psychoanalysis in a practice of availability for the analysand, a practice of concern and service, and a practice that lives in and draws insight from attention to transference.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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