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Hill, A. (2014). James Fisher: An Act of Kindness. Cpl. Fam. Psychoanal., 4(1):2.

(2014). Couple and Family Psychoanalysis, 4(1):2

James Fisher: An Act of Kindness

Andrea Hill, MSocSc

My contact with James Fisher was minimal, and yet the impact of his thinking on the development and training of psychoanalytic couple therapists in Cape Town is considerable.

In the summer of 1998, I was privileged and inspired to see his play reading of The Cocktail Party by T. S. Eliot at the Tavistock Marital Studies Institute (TMSI). In 1999, James Fisher's The Uninvited Guest: Emerging from Narcissism towards Marriage was published. Reading this generous book on my return home to South Africa, helped me to integrate what I had learnt in one all too short year at the TMSI. After this it felt that it might be possible to start a study group here, which later became our first training in Cape Town.

I wrote to James Fisher with this group in mind, and asked whether he would send the tape of The Cocktail Party. This he did, along with advice on getting Trevor Nunn's excellent production of Shakespeare's Othello on tape. With his encouragement, the first group of couple therapists met in 1999. We worked through every chapter of his book, along with The Cocktail Party, Othello, and other papers. The Uninvited Guest remains an important part of our thinking and training in South Africa.

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