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Goode, E. (1987). The Identity of the Psychoanalyst: Edited by E. D. Joseph and D. Widlöcher. New York: International Universities Press. 1983. Pp. 291.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 68:430-432.
(1987). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 68:430-432
The Identity of the Psychoanalyst: Edited by E. D. Joseph and D. Widlöcher. New York: International Universities Press. 1983. Pp. 291.
Review by: Erica Goode
A little more than a decade ago, a meeting was held at a quiet country inn, just south-west of London. In attendance were psychoanalysts from more than a dozen countries, representing a wide variety of theoretical perspectives.
It was probably fortunate that the setting for this psychoanalytic 'retreat' was peaceful. For the topic the analysts gathered to discuss was a restless one: their own identity in the latter half of the twentieth century, in a world far different from that which served as the delivery room for Sigmund Freud's work.
The Identity of the Psychoanalyst, edited by Edward Joseph and Daniel Widlöcher, is the volume which emerged from the 1976 symposium at Haslemere. It is a collection of 17 papers presented at the meetings, and includes contributions by Anna Freud, Leon Grinberg, Jean-Bertrand Pontalis, Edward Weinshel, Robert Wallerstein, Frances Gitelson and other distinguished analytic scholars.
What happens when 40 analysts get together and try to reach consensus about who they are and what they do?
Any search for identity involves its share of confusion and ambiguity, and the soul-search undertaken at Haslemere was no exception. The reader who expects, upon reaching the last page of this book, to possess a clear-cut or unified conception of psychoanalytic identity will be disappointed.
Instead, the authors represented frequently do not agree even on the legitimacy of the questions being posed, much less the answers to those questions.
The editors, writing in the introduction to the book, pinpoint as the catalyst for the conference an editorial in the International's Presidential Newsletter.
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