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Cockett, S. (2020). Authenticity in the psychoanalytic encounter. The work of Irma Brenman Pick: Edited and Introduced by M. Fakhry Davids and Naomi Shavit, London, Published by Routledge, in Association with the Institute of Psychoanalysis, by The New Library of Psychoanalysis, 2018, 234 pp., £30.99 (paperback), ISBN 13:9780815395462/ISBN 10:0815385463. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 101(3):616-620.

(2020). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 101(3):616-620

Authenticity in the psychoanalytic encounter. The work of Irma Brenman Pick: Edited and Introduced by M. Fakhry Davids and Naomi Shavit, London, Published by Routledge, in Association with the Institute of Psychoanalysis, by The New Library of Psychoanalysis, 2018, 234 pp., £30.99 (paperback), ISBN 13:9780815395462/ISBN 10:0815385463

Susan Cockett

This book collects together the writings of supervising and training analyst, Distinguished Fellow and former President of the British Psycho-Analytical Society, Mrs Irma Brenman Pick, over nearly 50 years.

The two editors, Fakhry Davids and Naomi Shavit, attended a clinical seminar with Irma Brenman Pick over half of this time. They begin by describing Brenman Pick's development as a psychoanalyst, including her move to London with her first husband, who himself came to train in the British Society but died young, leaving her with their young son. She trained first as a child psychotherapist at the Tavistock Clinic and then as an adult analyst at the British Society, later marrying Eric Brenman, a fellow psychoanalyst.

The editors introduce her work carefully. They group the papers into four sections, Countertransference, Authenticity, Adolescence and Sexuality, and Further Clinical Themes. Their introductions and comments on each section are well worth reading and help to process the sometimes very dense clinical material and her many-layered understanding. They list Brenman Pick's influences during her early career as a psychoanalyst in training – Hanna Segal, Wilfred Bion, Betty Joseph and Herbert Rosenfeld all supervised her early psychoanalytic cases. They emphasize her skill in working with destructiveness, something all these Kleinian analysts developed, alongside the importance of containment and the nature of the actual external object each patient has as it reveals itself in the transference. They emphasize her focus on the nature of a patient’s psychoanalytic object and the importance of us, as analysts, being prepared to examine our own particular contributions to our relationships with our patients – the authenticity in the book's title. In order to authentically investigate the nature of our patients’ internal objects and identifications, we must own our own, alongside. Throughout, Brenman Pick emphasizes that in order to be authentically creative in our psychoanalytic work, we must remain self-reflective, owning our own reactions, feelings and inclinations to act, and analysing our projections.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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