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Milton, J. (1997). Editorial. Psychoanal. Psychother., 11(3):195-195.

(1997). Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, 11(3):195-195

Editorial

Jane Milton

In this issue of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy we begin with a paper by Gladwell which examines again Freud's famous ‘Dora’ case, looked at here from the angle of sexual abuse. Freud's pioneering piece of work is seen through the eyes of a contemporary clinician who sees Dora as a sexually-abused adolescent. Gladwell takes up issues to do with the reality/fantasy debate, and thinks about the way oedipal themes become distorted in such situations. He highlights particularly the difficulties for male therapists with female patients who have been sexually abused.

The theme of minds and bodies is present in different ways in each of the four remaining papers. Schachter gives us a useful broad overview of the psychoanalytic literature on the mind-body relationship, including some reference to developmental and observational research. Some illustrative clinical examples are given. Skogstad's paper is based on an observational study of a medical ward. He is particularly interested in the ways in which the nursing staff deal with the intense feelings stirred up by daily close contact with patients’ bodies, and with severe illness and death. Skogstad reports on ways in which he sees the ward culture and particular defensive manoeuvres on the part of the staff serving to protect them from becoming overwhelmed by their task.

Our final section, on infant observation in psychoanalytic training, links in to the previous papers in that we are of course looking at a stage of life in which the mind and body are so closely interwoven. The classical mother-infant observation has also become the prototype for other sorts of observations made by clinicians such as Skogstad.

Finally, a letter from Winship continues the important debate about the relationship between nursing and psychotherapy.

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