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Milton, J. (1996). Editorial. Psychoanal. Psychother., 10(1):1-1.

(1996). Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, 10(1):1-1


Jane Milton

This issue of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy divides neatly into three sections. The papers by Hughes and Gibson address the challenge of making psychotherapy teaching alive and interesting for medical students. They first courageously inquired how their students perceived the current teaching of this subject. Undaunted, and stung into action, by the comment ‘How can you make such an interesting subject so dull?’, they set about, with the help of a professional educationist, planning and delivering a new syllabus, with good effects on the morale and satisfaction of all concerned.

The two clinical papers which follow both address areas within the public sector where psychoanalytic psychotherapy has evident potential but which to date has impinged little. Freeman and Kells give an unusual and vivid account of the psychotherapy of a patient referred to a dental hospital with dysmorphophobic preoccupations about her teeth, coupled with severe anxieties about dental treatment. We are shown how psychotherapy helped to address both issues. Cregeen describes work with some young people with severe epilepsy in a residential setting, discussing the complex interplay of physical and psychological factors in these patients, and their predicament as people living with recurrent and unpredictable experiences of collapse and fragmentation.

The last two papers address the much broader issues of the total setting in which our work takes place. Bell's concern is with a current political climate and culture which he sees as anti-dependency to an extreme degree, and which has spawned the Market-led public services. He explains, giving some clinical parallells, how he sees this as omnipotently denying ordinary human need, and running worryingly counter to the values which we espouse as psychoanalytic psychotherapists and as Health Service clinicians generally. Finally, Mishan addresses our attitude to the planet itself. Drawing particularly on the work of Money-Kyrle, and, like Bell, thinking about primitive defensive and destructive processes, he also discusses our tendency dangerously to deny basic need and dependency, and to attack and spoil the basic structures we need for our continuing existence.

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