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Simons, R.C. (1995). Commentaries. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 43:1027-1028.

(1995). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 43:1027-1028


Richard C. Simons

How does one write a commentary on a tour de force? Howard Shevrin is a gifted psychoanalytic clinician, educator, and researcher who is also a novelist and a poet. His impressive literary talents make this presentation truly unique among all of the plenary addresses ever published in this journal. Readers who are clinicians (I count myself among them) will immediately identify with Dr. Case and his passionately held belief that psychoanalysis is a science sui generis. But I would hope that most clinicians will remember that we are celebrating this year the hundredth anniversary of the birth of psychoanalysis—the publication of Studies on Hysteria in 1895. Over the course of this century, I would also hope, generations of clinicians will have accumulated enough wisdom to appreciate the plea of Dr. Sample for more sophisticated outcome and process research devoted to the psychoanalytic situation, and enough humility to respect the position of Professor di Sapienza that psychoanalysis is not a science at all, but rather one of the great humanistic enterprises (like teaching and governing) whose goal is to bring about significant rational changes both in individuals and in society. What is stunning about his presentation is that Shevrin, through his persona, Dr. Link, then asks us to stretch our professional identities still further to consider the possibility that psychoanalysis is actually two separate but related sciences, an applied clinical science and a basic science of the mind.

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