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Slochower, J. (2008). Into the Whirlwind: Discussion of Paper by Nina Farhi. Contemp. Psychoanal., 44(1):41-49.

(2008). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 44(1):41-49

Into the Whirlwind: Discussion of Paper by Nina Farhi

Joyce Slochower, Ph.D., ABPP

Farhi's rich discussion of her work with a deeply disturbed patient embodies a tension (and theoretical collision) between Winnicottian and relational perspectives on therapeutic process. To survive a treatment process characterized by states of dread and what she calls filaments of evil, Farhi struggles to enter her patient's world while still retaining contact with her own subjectivity. Farhi's Winnicottian sensibility is reflected in her view of the analyst as capable of remaining “still” and receptive, allowing the patient's process to penetrate the analyst's more than the reverse. This perspective on the analyst's capacity to identify historical truth contrasts with the relational notion of constructed historical narrative. Yet Farhi also articulates a central relational idea—that shared and shifting self-states shape therapeutic process. Farhi uses kabbalah, a mystical tradition to which both Farhi and her patient were drawn, to illustrate creatively her ideas about the limitlessness of human nature and the role of evil in it.

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