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Morris, H. (2014). A Clinical Plenary: Introduction. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 62(5):855-861.

(2014). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 62(5):855-861

Clinical Plenary

A Clinical Plenary: Introduction

Humphrey Morris

A new plenary format, inaugurated by Alfred Margulies, Shelley Orgel, and Warren Poland, was introduced at the June 2014 meetings of the American Psychoanalytic Association in Chicago: a clinical presentation with commentaries by discussants. Margulies gave his account of an analysis, “After the Storm: Living and Dying in Psychoanalysis,” in two parts corresponding to two periods of intense engagement, years apart, between analyst and analysand: “The Storm: Flirting with Death” and “Return.” After each part, Orgel and Poland responded, making back-and-forth exchange organic to the program. A general discussion with the audience concluded the three-hour session.

Margulies's plenary, as he delivered it, was remarkable for the directness and simplicity of its engagement with the audience. JAPA has tried to preserve that quality of engagement here by presenting the talk as it was given, including pauses intended by Margulies to convey rhythmic shifts in the clinical exchange. At the same time, publication will allow readers to appreciate the complexity of narrative structure and theoretical synthesis in this text. Its accessibility as an oral presentation, a triumph of experiential storytelling, belied its conceptual depth, for Margulies did not interrupt the flow of his story to provide citations or explanations. Now that the talk reappears here as a text to be read and reread, I will take the opportunity in this introduction to point to some of the distinct theoretical commitments and clinical perspectives it weaves together. A good place to start is by noting that the two discussants, in their own published work, offer views of what it is to be an analyst that contrapuntally frame what Margulies is both saying and doing in his plenary.

Poland gave the American Psychoanalytic Association's plenary address in May 1998 in Toronto.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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