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Goldberg, A. (1989). A Shared View of the World. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 70:16-20.

(1989). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 70:16-20

A Shared View of the World

Arnold Goldberg

The search for a common ground for analysts who work with differing viewpoints has its parallel in the search between analyst and patient for a similar unity of vision: a shared view of the world. No two people live in exactly identical worlds; we mainly manage to communicate with one another by varying degrees of sharing, negotiating and ignoring. Every patient who comes to analysis struggles with a combination of wishes to be understood by the analyst along with hopes that certain aspects of his psyche remain opaque. And every analyst, in like fashion, wants to understand his patient yet also needs and hopes to move the segregated or split-off material into the open. My thesis here is that the analytic process is one that reverses this sequence of sharing, negotiating and ignoring. It says that this is the essence of commonality both in the analytic relationship per se as well as in the larger world of analysis. Let us begin with the first of the trilogy.


To some degree we all share a similar perspective with our patients in a wide number of ways. This similarity is what allows us to make a beginning with patients, and it extends from a common language to a familiarity of customs, to an overlapping of like experiences. This need to overlap in a significant segment of life is what is essential for any sort of treatment, and it is why it makes the truly alien person untreatable.

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