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Sapountzis, I. (2005). From the Crumbs of a Cookie: The Poetics of the Subjective in the Therapeutic Encounter. Psychoanal. Perspect., 2(2):75-91.

(2005). Psychoanalytic Perspectives, 2(2):75-91


From the Crumbs of a Cookie: The Poetics of the Subjective in the Therapeutic Encounter

Ionas Sapountzis, Ph.D.

“Tell me the truth, Dad,” demanded my daughter a little before her I seventh birthday. “Is there a Santa Claus? Tell me the truth.” How can one answer such a question without having to decide, right there and then, whether to reveal the truth or to prolong the illusion, whether to present an almost-seven-year-old girl with a version of reality she might not be ready for, or whether to reassure her that Santa Claus does exist and therefore prolong her belief in the magic? In her book “The Magic Years,” Selma Fraiberg (1959) advised parents to inquire about their children's sense of facts when confronted with such questions in order to avoid confusing or overwhelming them with information they are not yet ready to hear. “What do you think?” I asked my daughter, just as Fraiberg had advised parents to do. “I think … that … he … exists,” replied my daughter hesitantly, and then proceeded to outline, with growing confidence, her doubts. She had wondered several times how Santa Claus made it down our chimney, how he managed to bring down the bicycle she had wished for last year without any traces of soot whatsoever on its bright red frame or on the carpet, how he knew what every child in the world wished for, and how he made it to all these homes all over the world in just one night. These were all very rational and reasonable arguments that failed to prepare me for the concluding statement that followed.

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