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Calder, K. (1995). Tribute To Leo Stone. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 43:7-8.

(1995). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 43:7-8

Tribute To Leo Stone

Kenneth Calder

Leo Stone is special. He is special, in fact, in at least three different areas: his relations with others, his intellect, and his ethical beliefs.

Leo Stone has a strong, positive relationship with the world. He listens, he reads, he thinks. He is engaged. His eyes and his smiles encourage contact. He invites participation also by his enthusiasms and sense of humor. All of this has a genuine ring to it. It is authentic. He enjoys jokes, and he mimics people (e.g., the late Senator Everett Dirksen) with great pleasure. In his relations with others there is a minimum of hostility from him or directed at him. It is clear that a basic core affection for people prevails.

Leo Stone’s intelligence is of the first order. Direct contact with it is indeed awe-inspiring. His memory is remarkable. Many supervisees have discovered that he could recall details of their case better than they themselves could. He is widely read, helped in part by growing up in a farmhouse, isolated from companions but surrounded by books. Books were his companions, and he learned to know them well.

What is perhaps Leo Stone’s most impressive intellectual capacity is his penetrating understanding of the analytic situation and the analytic process. His formulations in these areas are imaginative and unique. They cover a wide range: primordial transference and mature transference; words as a substitute for touch; the optimal level of frustration in an analysis; and the importance of the analyst’s respecting the analysand’s autonomy.

This is an impressive list—an incomplete one—all the more impressive for being the product of a single mind operating for the most part independently. For years Leo Stone has worked like a lone prospector, successfully panning for gold in out-of-the-way places.

The third area in which Leo Stone is special—ethics—is one in which he has been more outspoken than many. Not only does he have a strong code of ethics for himself, but he believes the field of analysis, because of the nature of the analytic experience (e.g., the fact that regression is part of every analysis), requires careful monitoring to avoid any abuse of the analysand as regards sex, money, confidentiality, narcissistic gratification, or power.

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