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Blechner, M.J. (2008). Editor's Introduction. Contemp. Psychoanal., 44(2):175-176.

(2008). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 44(2):175-176

Editor's Introduction

Mark J. Blechner, Ph.D.

Contemp. Psychoanal. has a proud history of being on the cutting edge of both psychoanalytic theory and practice, a tradition I plan to continue as the incoming editor of the journal. This issue of Contemp. Psychoanal. is special in that we focus less on theory and more on the fundamental experience of psychoanalysts and patients in difficult clinical situations.

We start with Jane Burka's account of her psychoanalyst's unethical behavior. He had violated two of the cardinal rules of psychoanalysis—no sexual relations with patients and no departures from strict confidentiality. All psychoanalysts have at some time been patients; with this dual perspective, Burka guides us through the agony of discovering that her analyst had told many details about her to one of his patients, with whom he was having an affair. Burka sued him, and he fought her all the way through a trial. Burka shows us how she used her dreams to guide her and stay grounded during her traumatic ordeal.

The main role of psychoanalysts is to help patients live better, but dying is also a part of life. Christal Daehnert describes her analysis of a patient with metastatic breast cancer all the way through the patient's last days. Karol Marshall tells us of the agony of dealing with a patient's sudden death. Both are moving accounts of painful situations that challenge most psychoanalysts at some time in their careers.

In this issue, we also launch a new section on Psychoanalysis and the Arts, organized by Phillip Blumberg and Irwin Hirsch, which will appear in the journal from time to time. In this issue, four literary artists were asked to tell us how they have used psychoanalytic treatment, concepts, or theory in their work. One tells of a life-saving treatment that freed him to work; another tells of a deadlocked treatment that went nowhere. They have trenchant observations about what makes a good psychoanalytic treatment. Daniel Hayes sees a similarity between good clinical psychoanalysis and good writing—the ability to surprise.

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