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McLaughlin, J.T. (1993). Work With Patients: The Impetus for Self-Analysis. Psychoanal. Inq., 13(3):365-389.

(1993). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 13(3):365-389

Work With Patients: The Impetus for Self-Analysis

James T. McLaughlin, M.D.

You can learn things from me. You cannot follow me. If there was suddenly a great illumination, you would only see one man going through the brush. There is no path to be followed—

Don Eduardo Calderon

My epigraph comes from the mountains of peru, by way of my friend and fellow explorer, Dr. Mortimer Cohen, a veterinarian who learns much from shamans and large patients.

We analysts do what we do for probably just a few basic reasons; but these are put together in as many combinations as there are analysts. All sorts of good and suspect motivations have been attributed to us—by us as well as by others—the metaphor changing with the times. A sampling would include masochism, sadism, and voyeurism; reaction formation against or sublimative reparation for rapacity and destructiveness; narcissistic self-concealment and hunger for power; straightforward desire for easy money and a yen to exploit the vulnerable. The list of positive reasons would surely be shorter.


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