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Fisher, D.J. (2018). A Conversation with Adam Phillips. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 66(5):913-940.

(2018). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 66(5):913-940


A Conversation with Adam Phillips

David James Fisher

David James Fisher: It's my privilege to introduce Adam Phillips as NCP's first Master Clinician in Residence. This program is designed for our institute to interact with someone who has produced a significant body of psychoanalytic writing. Phillips's books and essays are grounded dialectically in clinical knowledge and a subtle understanding of the therapeutic process. His visit will present him an opportunity to be immersed in the life of our institute, exchanging ideas with our candidates, members, and faculty.

What can I say about Adam Phillips? To begin with, he doesn't have e-mail. [Laughter] I am of two minds about this. On the one hand, I find it charming and on the other hand, a pain in the neck. Perhaps it is a critique of technology, a protest against the age of social media, of overly rapid e-mailing and texting, and of facile forms of relating that are actually forms of non-relating. More significantly, Phillips is adept at communicating and non-communicating. He has a special quality of relating intimately, of listening and being attuned; he then can courteously withdraw, retreating into a much cherished solitude.

Mark Twain once quipped that England and America were two countries separated by the same language. Phillips represents much of the best in British intellectual and psychoanalytic life. Our own tradition, blending classical and contemporary psychoanalysis, will hopefully form an intermediate and transitional space between our different psychoanalytic languages, attitudes, and methods.

Adam Phillips is a distinguished and productive writer. He has written twenty-one books and edited eight others.

[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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