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Grotstein, J. Franey, M. (2008). Conversations with Clinicians: Who is the Writer Who Writes the Books?. Fort Da, 14(2):87-116.

(2008). Fort Da, 14(2):87-116

Conversations with Clinicians: Who is the Writer Who Writes the Books?

James Grotstein, M.D. and In Conversation with Maureen Franey, Ph.D., MFT

I am flying to L. A. to interview my former clinical supervisor, teacher, and now dear friend, Jim Grotstein. As I sit with my notepad scribbling down my questions for this interview, I worry that my questions will not be scholarly or literary “enough.” Where does one begin with an analyst and scholar who has authored over 260 articles and numerous books? I decided that what I wanted to convey to the reader of this article was something of the magic, mystery, and fun that would inevitably evolve and emerge from my many conversations with Jim. When I arrive in his office, the first thing he so proudly shows me is his new extra-large computer screen. (I am envious!) The next thing he shows me is his desk strewn with about six different pairs of eyeglasses. I immediately see the four pairs that are lying on top of my nightstand and acknowledge to myself the passing of time. It is true that our respective eyes are blurring and need assistance, but it is clear to me (as you too will soon discover) that the mind of Dr. Grotstein is as sharp as a tack. So, I put away my notebook and decide that I will just sit back and let myself enjoy another awe-inspiring journey through the mind and eyes of Jim Grotstein. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

MF You told me once that it was a sad day, the day you packed up your stethoscope and black bag for good. What made you decide to give up medicine and go into psychiatry?

JG That is a very touching question. When I went into medicine it felt like going into a knighthood. It is anything but difficult. All one needs is a great memory. It is so comfortably left-brain. Bion's K to a hilt! There is a procedure for everything no matter what happens. There is a protocol and a sense of security. It is also a privilege and is so sacred — saving lives. When I was in medical school there was a romance with psychoanalysis — not like it is today. It was sought after, dreamed about.

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