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Chervet, B. (2020). The case of J: Working as a psychoanalyst during the Pandemic. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 101(4):784-790.

(2020). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 101(4):784-790

The case of J: Working as a psychoanalyst during the Pandemic

Bernard Chervet

Before commenting on a clinical text, an element of clarification is necessary. Even when the text is a verbatim account of the patient’s associations, the person who is commenting on it is only referring to the text and the person who wrote it, and not to the patient.

When the author of the text is anonymous, the commentator finds himself in the situation of knowing nothing about either the patient or the analyst, of having to imagine both. The only reality that he knows is the text. The text reveals, it is true, an aspect of the “internal object/patient” of the analyst, here the internal object J., but in a static mode, a text, which is very different from a clinical situation presented orally by an analyst. There are, therefore, several gaps between the written text and the patient, and between the author of the text and the analyst. The commentator and analyst both know that a living human being he is much more alive than a text. And during the session, whether physically present or at a distance, the patient transmits much more information through what he says than a written text can express. Even on the telephone, the enunciation conveys multiple qualities that influence the analyst’s listening and that have an even greater effect on his thinking, as when the session takes place in each other’s physical presence in the analyst’s consulting room. The physical dimension is thus not limited for either of them to the dimension of sound.

[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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