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Wilner, W. (2003). Honesty, Dishonesty, and the Movement of Psychoanalytic Experience. Psychoanal. Perspect., 1(1):33-41.

(2003). Psychoanalytic Perspectives, 1(1):33-41

Honesty, Dishonesty, and the Movement of Psychoanalytic Experience

Warren Wilner, Ph.D.

Dr. Renik's personally rich and analytically evocative paper evinces the dilemma of trying to understand the nuanced complexities of analytic engagement through the lens of independent constructs. Thus, the issue of honesty and dishonesty in the consulting room may be reversed as well: what becomes of the concepts of honesty and dishonesty when they are ground through the refining mill of analysis? Do they retain as much of their original meaning and character when processed through an actual analysis as they appear to have at the outset? Stated differently, an exploration of these questions may show the psychoanalytic process to be capable of subsuming other ideas, but it itself may not be able to be comprehensively framed or subsumed within these other conceptual entities. A reason for this would appear to concern analysis's dual character as a concrete living process within which its participants are directly and immediately engaged, as well as being a conceptual and more broadly theoretical schema that can be cognitively approached. Hence, our ideas about what analysis is, and thoughts about what it ideally should become, never seem to quite fit with what an actual analysis turns out to be, and our ideas about how to bring about more efficacious, democratic, and reflective treatments often wind up, when clinically prescribed and imposed, resulting in self-contradictions and resistance to the process.

We may become ensnared even in attempting to write about the process. Thus, Levenson (1980) has written that the analyst should not be the one who has to “know”; she or he should instead be more open to hearing what is going on. But how can one know this without being the one who knows? Philosophers, after all, aver that the eye cannot behold itself in the act of seeing. Thus, we cannot “know” that we should not try to know without contradicting ourselves.

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