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Hewison, D. (2002). Internet Discussion Forum Summary. J. Anal. Psychol., 47(1):131-132.

(2002). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 47(1):131-132

Internet Discussion Forum Summary

Summarized by David Hewison

Confidentiality and paradox: the location of ethical space’ by Jan Wiener & ‘Origins of the ethical attitude’ by Hester McFarland Solomon

J. Anal. Psychol., July 2001, 46, 3

There were few responses to these two very rich and thought-provoking papers. The length of the summer break for those of us working in analytic practice, and the shocking events in New York and Washington and worrying uncertainties about its aftermath may well have pushed the Journal's Discussion Forum out of mind. The question of ethics, its origin and place, is underlined again as starkly relevant to our current time and to our attempts to manage life as individuals, citizens and practitioners.

Reid W. Anderson responded to Jan Wiener's paper in particular, by welcoming her description of ethical space as a ‘third area’ in which meaning and therefore new thinking can emerge, as ‘both creative and central to a Jungian understanding of ethics’. He felt that her attempts to define ‘ethical space’ by distinguishing between ethical codes, ethics and Ethics were helpful - particularly in the context of ‘competing legal, social and professional claims upon the therapeutic process’. However, he felt that the attempt to understand and work ethically relied not just on the analyst, but also had to involve the analysand and that the paper's lack of clinical material made this process harder. He described the need to grapple openly with the analysand about the limits to the analyst's confidentiality, and not to hide behind a collusive intimation of unlimited confidentiality in the consulting room. As he put it:

While the level of confidentiality will inevitably affect the analytic process, the extent to which the analytic relationship serves as an efficacious container, or conversely a claustrum or a sieve, may depend more upon the fit and the qualities of the analytic alliance developed than the absolute level of confidentiality. Perhaps it is not as much a question of whether one functions in private practice, the souk, or the citadel as whether the therapeutic alliance is compatible with working in the various settings, with various analysands.


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