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Jenkins, L. (1993). Discussion. Psychoanal. Rev., 80(2):225-227.

(1993). Psychoanalytic Review, 80(2):225-227


Lee Jenkins, Ph.D.

I will confine my comments to a few of the issues that are of interest to me as a recent psychoanalytic graduate, and as a practitioner with an initial training in literature and an interest in the psycho-therapeutic problems of multicultural counseling.

I can especially appreciate Jacob Arlow's concern about what ought to constitute a psychoanalytic candidate's body of knowledge (also see Arlow, 1972, 1990). Regarding an awareness of the reality of the unconscious, beyond what happens when we are asleep, probably everybody has acknowledged the fleeting, shocking, amusing, or embarrassing glimpses of the irrational and contradictory underpinnings of conscious thought and their assault upon and denial of our usual stance as rational beings. All of us have a theoretical understanding of the unconscious and have experienced its impingement upon and interaction with conscious thought, but I think a truly humbling respect for unconscious conflict might be gained from an apprenticeship among the insane confined to institutions even though we see their compatriots on street corners — frightful reminders of the powerful forces with which our heroic, indefatigable egos strive so mightily to negotiate, usually successfully. Such apprenticeship might make it easier to appreciate the bothersome borderline patients, unrelenting and resistant.

I consider that it would not only be instrumental but enjoyable for an analyst to have knowledge of the physiology of the brain and nervous system, cognitive psychology, and the neurosciences and more than a passing familiarity with the humanities: art, literature, mythology, languages. It has always seemed to me that analysts are already, as a group, inquisitive and learned people, or at least responsive to the range of human interests and endeavors. Such was the case for that first group of cultural intellectuals assembled around Freud.

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