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Farhi, N. (2008). Reply to Discussions by Joyce Slochower and Richard Chefetz. Contemp. Psychoanal., 44(1):50-54.

(2008). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 44(1):50-54

Reply to Discussions by Joyce Slochower and Richard Chefetz

Nina Farhi

Joyce Slochower

Slochower's creative discussion, particularly her intense receptivity to what I would now reframe as the harmonics of the work with Sarah, reverberating even at the “distal level of commentary” recaptures the sheer force of the often enmeshed relationship between Sarah and me.

My paper was written some 20 years after Sarah's treatment had ended. Nevertheless, I recollect the process with that internal vibrancy where the euphony of two subjectivities are harvested deep within the self. To paraphrase Winnicott (1965), such states are likened to “the music of the spheres … absolutely personal” from out of which “communication naturally arises” (p. 192).

My work was driven by the portent I experienced at the literal interface— at the consulting room door—of our meetings. Over many years of profound isolation, this sense of moral dread was mined from deep within myself—a feeling unique in my clinical work. It was this particularity that pulled Sarah and me down into what felt like the infinitude of nothingness, a place where ethics and aesthetics, the matrix for the self, dissolved, where being could not be found. It also led me to listen closely to her selfcommentary relating to the “broken vessels” in the Lurianic kabbalah, where ethical and aesthetic essences suffuse the text. This elucidation might suggest why so much of my paper examines this esoteric work, with its dense, abstract, and interminably disturbing fugues.

Slochower's response, however, has opened up a transitional space, or “intermediate area of experiencing” (Winnicott, 1958, p. 230), where she and I together have contemplated anew the field of work that, until now, I had not entirely processed.

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