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Wilson, A. (2009). Theorizing About Theorizing: An Examination of the Contributions of William I. Grossman to Psychoanalysis. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 57(1):9-36.

(2009). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 57(1):9-36


Theorizing About Theorizing: An Examination of the Contributions of William I. Grossman to Psychoanalysis

Arnold Wilson

William Grossman's contributions to psychoanalysis are studied in the light of an interest that suffuses his papers: the remarkably complex ways an analyst develops his or her mind in order to become an effective analyst. Grossman sought to detail the many subtle factors infusing Freudian theory, from its initial sources to its consolidation as a system, to its embrace in the mind of an analyst who will use it, and on to the many iterations of its progress on the way to being applied in the clinical situation. This progression assumes a recognition of the analyst's need to be at once both experiencer and observer. Implicit in the attempt to understand another is a self-reflective taking of oneself as an object of analysis. How an essential tension is worked out between the subjective and objective points of view is an issue that pervades Grossman's writings. This is but one instance of a larger tendency characterizing his ideas—thinking psychoanalytically about psychoanalysis itself. Factors he implicated in being a contemporary Freudian analyst are then taken up.

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