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Fonagy, P. (1986). On Learning from the Patient. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 67:502.

(1986). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 67:502

On Learning from the Patient

P. Fonagy, Ph.D.

Dear Sir,

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to reply to Mr Smith's letter concerning my review of Casement's book On Learning from the Patient.

Mr Smith's criticisms of my review are unwarranted. The book review was aimed at acquainting readers of the International Journal with the contents, scientific quality and style of work, not its intellectual, or indeed its academic, origins. Whatever relationship does or does not exist between the work of Langs and that of Casement was in my judgement incidental to the above aims. However, revisiting the matter as a result of Mr Smith's letter regarding the similarity between Casement and Langs has led me to the opinion that Casement's approach to therapeutic interaction is refreshingly different from that of Langs.

One of the book's most admirable features is its ability to capture accurately, and to synthesize, the current approach of British analysts to their work, which has evolved gradually over the past 40 years. If we are to believe Mr Smith that American readers would not find Casement's presentation of this 'parochial' it would imply a deeper penetration of the British approach into North American theory and technique than most of us in this society believe to be the case.


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