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Orgel, S. Gombert, H.L. (1994). Self-Observation, Self-Analysis, and Reanalysis. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 42:1237-1250.

(1994). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 42:1237-1250

Self-Observation, Self-Analysis, and Reanalysis

Shelley Orgel, M.D. and Herbert L. Gombert, M.D.

ORGEL INTRODUCED THE PANEL by noting that each of us has his own private working definition of self-analysis. Many of us question whether self-analysis can be said to happen at all and whether analysis without another's presence to encourage us to recognize and overcome resistance is possible, but most of us will also testify that we cannot imagine our lives without internally conducted analytic work. All of the panelists warn of a danger to the ongoing process of self-observation and self-inquiry, i.e., feeling good about it. They note that plumbing the familiar is pleasing and that without an external analyst it becomes very tempting to be satisfied with rediscovering what one already knows.

So this is a panel on something that may not be definable, which may not exist, and which, if it seems to exist, is probably seriously deceiving the one practicing it. Gardner noted that self-inquiry reported to an audience cannot be the inquiry that was, however limited that was. Nevertheless, he also noted the rewarding aspects of self-inquiry, including coming to understand the limitations of yesterday's inquiries in trading yesterday's illusions for today's. Orgel's expectation was that, in listening to these papers by three master analysts, our own introspection would be stimulated; the questions we ask ourselves about ourselves would be the panel's greatest impact. He believes these speakers will take their places among those sometimes more external, sometimes more internal, "others" whom we use as equivalents of analysts to assist us in advancing our own hidden self-inquiries.


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