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Olinick, S.L. (1980). The Gossiping Psychoanalyst. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 7:439-445.

(1980). International Review of Psycho-Analysis, 7:439-445

The Gossiping Psychoanalyst

Stanley L. Olinick


I have reviewed gossiping as an anomaly of the work ego of the psychoanalyst. Gossip is an instance of phatic, transitional process communication, manifesting its etymology and social psychology as derived from a form of kinship. The kinship of gossip is sought in relief from the conflictual anxieties of the analysis and/or of intercurrent crises of living. Factors in gossip include envy, isolation, and curiosity; voyeurism and exhibitionism; orality, speech, and the suborned or bribed superego; and the 'fore-pleasure principle' (Freud, 1905). The susceptibility of the superego to subornation through the 'fore-pleasure' of gossip results from the regressive, soothing pull of gossip as a transitional process that harks back to the mother-infant unit, seeking to re-establish that warm security. The malice and slander attending gossip perhaps result from the frustration of these regressive wishes.

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