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Fink, K. (2008). On: The comments of Dr Vaslamatzis. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 89(3):656-657.

(2008). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 89(3):656-657

On: The comments of Dr Vaslamatzis Related Papers

Klaus Fink

Dear Editors,

I thank Dr Vaslamatzis for his interest in my paper and his thoughtful words in his letter to the Journal. I certainly agree with his ideas about the place that supervision occupies between education and psychotherapy: supervision is the activity that permits the training analyst to teach and show some of the more personal implications of working closely with another person which for the candidate is often a first experience of this kind.

Regarding Dr Vaslamatzis's remarks about my relation and reactions to the patient of my paper I would like to say the following. When I first received Mr K in my consulting room and state that I did not recognize him, I do not mean a recognition in a visual sense: what I mean is that Mr K was a new and unknown person to me and that he remained as such for a time. I only became aware of a possible previous knowledge of the patient when I gradually heard some of his biographical details that, in part, I had previously heard from Dr W during the supervision; I even have serious doubts about a possibility of an unconscious knowledge of the person who was coming to see me to seek help. I think I explain in my paper the alternating transference and countertransference reactions that start between patient and candidate and end in the supervisor's mind after each supervisory session. Therefore, when Dr Vaslamatzis wonders about my motive for taking on a patient whom I “knew as the patient of the supervisory relation but failed to recognize” (his italics), he is not considering my circumstances as an ex-supervisor as explained above. I could not have recognized the patient at first as, for me, he was a new patient I had never seen or heard of before. Only later on, in the course of the therapy, did I become suspicious. Whether one should treat a person who has before been the object of supervision can be a matter for discussion, but that is not the problem here and it would exceed the frame of this reply.

About Dr Vaslamatzis's last point, in which he feels that I do not address the countertransference phenomena in the supervisor, I think I do when I explain my thoughts about my supervisee. The feelings of boredom and doubts about the analysis refer to the patient as he was presented and not to Dr W himself. I do consider countertransferential problems when I mention the agreements between candidate and supervisor at the start of their joint work.

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