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Seidenberg, R. (1963). The Hidden "We". J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 11:542-545.

(1963). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 11:542-545

The Hidden "We"

Robert Seidenberg, M.D.

TTHE FOLLOWING is presented in the spirit of sharing a clinical vignette. Attention given to a pronoun proved decisive in clarifying an important issue.

A thirty-six-year-old chemist had been in analysis for two years. He had come for help because of dissatisfaction with his professional progress. His teachers had considered him a bright young man, and it was the consensus of his friends that he would accomplish a great deal in his work. He chose an academic life with plans for research. However, he never seemed to take hold. He changed positions frequently, unable to find the right milieu for the unfolding of his talents. In each place he would become quickly discouraged by the "lack of sensitivity" of those around him for what he had to offer. He was repeatedly disillusioned by the insincerity of persons in high places. As a consequence, he would leave a newly acquired appointment before he could test his (scientific) hypotheses and before he himself could be tested.

His social life closely paralleled his professional one. He had had relations with a succession of young women. Here too after initial enthusiasm, he quickly cooled and broke away from them. This girl proved to be too materialistic; that one insensitive to important social and political activities, etc.

He came from a family with high intellectual tradition; his father was a professor at a leading university.

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