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Slap, J. (1986). Becoming a Psychoanalyst. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 67:501-501.

(1986). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 67:501-501

Becoming a Psychoanalyst

Joseph Slap, M.D.

Dear Dr Hayley,

I wish to respond to Dr Robert Wallerstein's letter in which he charges that my review of Becoming a Psychoanalyst contains major misstatements of facts and unwarranted attacks on contributors to the volume.

At first I was bewildered by the claims of misstatements of facts since my only source of information was the book itself. I reported the dispute between Howard Shevrin and the Committee as it was described by Shevrin and uncontested by Wallerstein or by any other contributor. In his letter Wallerstein explains that Shevrin agreed to mediated changes in his copy. So the question arises if the account of the dispute presented in the book was a misstatement of facts, why was this misinformation permitted to appear? If the facts were as Wallerstein stated in his letter, why were they not reported in the book? Upon rereading Wallerstein's letter, it became clear to me that he implies that a more alert reviewer would have realized that there was another, unpublished side of the story and would have cross-checked the matter in the style of an investigative reporter.

All this suggests that while he was not able to publish the other side of the story out of tact or perhaps under the terms agreed upon in mediation, he or some other person who knew the full story would have given me this information privately and I might have then avoided unjustly hurting his colleagues. This argument is weakened, however, by the fact that his letter is dated May 1985, fully five months before my review was published. Thus, having been given a copy of my review shortly after it was submitted, he was not in the position of a writer who is surprised by the appearance in print of a harsh review written by a reviewer whose identity he could not have predicted. No, he had the review well in advance of publication and could have provided me with the information he feels (unreasonably in my view) I should have known existed and should have sought out. In this way he might have spared his friends the hurt he now seeks to redress. My review did, however, present him with the opportunity to write a letter of protest in which he was able at considerable length to provide a new set of facts which he was apparently unable to present in the book that he himself edited.


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