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Parsons, M. (1984). Psychoanalysis as Vocation and Martial Art. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 11:453-462.

(1984). International Review of Psycho-Analysis, 11:453-462

Psychoanalysis as Vocation and Martial Art

Michael Parsons


Starting from a consideration of two books, The Case for a Personal Psychotherapy by Lomas (1981) and The Standing of Psychoanalysis by Farrell (1981), I develop the idea of psychoanalysis as a vocation. This means it is not only something the analyst does; it is also an expression of his being. Similar ideas are traced in the work of Rank and Lacan. However, these two made the mistake of seeing this as a liberation from technique and basic principles. By contrast I contend that analysis as a mode of being is only to be achieved through constantly grounding oneself in these. I illustrate this position with examples from the traditional martial arts of China and Japan which have unexpected resemblances to psychoanalysis.

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