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Grotstein, J.S. (2003). Toward a Name of Her Own: Commentary on Farhi. Contemp. Psychoanal., 39(1):99-106.

(2003). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 39(1):99-106

Toward a Name of Her Own: Commentary on Farhi

James S. Grotstein, M.D.

ONE cannot help being profoundly moved by Nina Farhi's case presentation. The reader becomes almost as captivated by the narrative as was Ms. Farhi by her analysand. It was an extraordinary clinical involvement, and the author clearly shows how she had been affected by it and reflected long and hard about what had transpired—in the silences and in the nether world beneath the sound of words. Whatever the psychoanalytic orientation of the reader, he or she will unanimously agree that a profound, poignant, and exquisite psychoanalytic happening had taken place.

The Case Presentation

Briefly in summary, Anne, the analysand, who was a single female in her mid-thirties and ungainly tall, presents herself imposingly for analysis to Ms. Farhi, who acknowledges that she went into a virtual submissive trance, feeling that the analysand-to-be presented her with a fait accompli for her to become her analyst. The analysand had no memory of her past. The name she proffered to Ms. Farhi was that of her mother, both first name and last (thus the title of the presentation), a practice that she initiated when mother and father divorced.

The past history is horrendous. Her mother had to undergo a hysterectomy along with the delivery of her daughter and quickly afterward fell ill with a severe postpartum depression. The analysand was nursed and reared by a succession of nannies and never really experienced true mothering by her mother.

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