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Sidoli, M. (1983). Pignatelli, M. (Rome). ‘Il fantasma del terzo’ (The ghost of the absent third). Rivista di Psicologica Analitica, Vol. 13, no. 25, pp. 54-64 (1982).. J. Anal. Psychol., 28(3):275.

(1983). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 28(3):275

Pignatelli, M. (Rome). ‘Il fantasma del terzo’ (The ghost of the absent third). Rivista di Psicologica Analitica, Vol. 13, no. 25, pp. 54-64 (1982).

Review by:
Mara Sidoli

Edited by:
Andrew Samuels

This paper deals with the relationship and transference projections that occur between the supervisee, his patient and the supervisor. The physically absent patient as a ghost fills up the space of the supervision, and with his ghostly presence can both persecute, or have a benevolent influence, in the relationship between the trainee and the supervisor.

However, according to Pignatelli, more ghosts begin to appear as the supervision proceeds. The ghost of the personal analyst of the supervisee and the large ghost of society as an institutionalised authority also intervene. All these ghosts can stir up rivalry, confusion, conflict and lead the supervisor and his students into all sorts of difficulties and misunderstandings. The author describes the relationship that develops where the supervisor assumes a supporting father rôle towards the trainee's patient, who then appears as a grandchild. Rivalry can develop between the supervisor and the trainee's internalised personal analyst, and the awareness of the way in which the trainee can both play one against the other and/or be overwhelmed by the idealisation of both, or of one of them, can lead to him feeling threatened and impotent. The task of the supervisor is to keep all this in mind while trying to allow the trainee enough space and freedom to develop his own personal style.

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