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(2011). Miranda Feuchtwang about Herself. Rev. psychoanal. psychoter., 13(1):50-54.

(2011). Revue psychoanalytická psychoterapie, 13(1):50-54


Miranda Feuchtwang about Herself

Professional Formation

I trained in 1976 at the Tavistock Clinic London, as a Child and adolescent psychotherapist. I had a first degree in sociology where Freud and Lacan were on the curriculum, but my formation in psychoanalysis must have started long before. My mother was a child psychiatrist and Jungian analyst so I had grown up in an atmosphere where the life of the mind and the inner world was taken for granted.

When I started training I knew I had found my professional home in psychoanalytic clinical practice. I was lucky enough to have Martha Harris as the Head of Child training at the Tavistock and seminars and supervisions were given by many people with gifted and highly original minds who had been part of the generation who had known and been taught by Melanie Klein Harold Rosenfeld and Wilfred Bion. Mattie Harris was married to Donald Meltzer and of course he was an enormous influence on the child training at that time. He was a controversial figure even then, but his style and intuitive grasp of the inner world of the child had a lasting effect on the way we child psychotherapists developed. Through Mattie and Don, Bion was invited back to the Tavi to give a series of lecture seminars in what turned out to be the last two years of his life. As a completely ignorant first year trainee I had no idea who Bion was; it was an extraordinary experience to listen to Bion responding to questions, and in a kind of reverie himself induce a state of reverie in his audience; one's own thoughts took off in all sorts of directions, like a part of music on a stave returning to the base line of Bion's thoughts as he came to the end of a sentence. It was a profound and rather unsettling experience; many years later I came to understand that this was what might be meant by the experience of ‘dreaming’ alongside the patient in an analytic session. It was indeed an extraordinary privilege to be a student at the Tavi in those days.

While I was a trainee at the Tavi I also attended my first Group Relations Conference. And this was another discovery. As an application of psychoanalysis to an understanding of group dynamics - Bion was one of the founders of this tradition - it was for me an invaluable adjunct to individual practice. I subsequently became a staff member on many conferences including in the UK, the Leicester conferences, and the Tavistock clinic conferences, and conferences in Bulgaria, Israel and Ireland.

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