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Lagerlöf, S. (2001). What happens when a case is presented to a large group? Or: In the presence of an absent leader. Scand. Psychoanal. Rev., 24(2):123-125.

(2001). Scandinavian Psychoanalytic Review, 24(2):123-125

What happens when a case is presented to a large group? Or: In the presence of an absent leader

Sven Lagerlöf

What happens during the presentation of a psychoanalytic case to a large group? For the person exposing his or her analytic work – and thereby his- or herself – it may become a highly charged situation, which can be experienced as both stimulating and painful.

The interventions made by people in the audience are often framed as alternative interpretations of the case material that has been presented. While this may be a positive experience for the person presenting the case, he or she unfortunately often experiences the critique as confusing, unexpected and perhaps offensive, particularly if the alternative interpretations appear to call into question the capability of the analyst. What happens then, and what problems are created that may inhibit the analyst's willingness to present an account of his work to his colleagues?

Tuckett (1993) deals with the causes of the difficulties encountered in the presentation of case material. He points out the differences between the various explanatory models which are typical of different schools of analysis as well as the personal influence of the analyst, as the author of a narrative, on the choice of analytic material, particularly regarding which links between the parts of the material are considered meaningful. The narrative process necessarily implies both an increased distance to the immediacy of the original analytic situation and an admixture of theoretical preferences and other influences on the clinical description.

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