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Solomon, H.M. (2002). Reply to Michael Rotmann. J. Anal. Psychol., 47(2):279-284.

(2002). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 47(2):279-284

Reply to Michael Rotmann

Hester McFarland Solomon, M.A., MSc

I am struck that Dr Rotmann's very intriguing paper is about the other, in relation to the unconscious - how the unconscious of the self is made up of the other - and has thus fallen in with one of the central themes that has been emerging throughout the conference: the role of the other in the inner world of the self. Dr Rotmann's thought-provoking paper begins with a vivid clinical exchange, ‘made up’, he says, but ‘not invented/contrived’. I take it he means a composite clinical picture, and perhaps later we can hear something of why he chose this way of writing about clinical material - perhaps he has a number of patients who seem to fit this picture, perhaps for reasons of confidentiality. The exchange occurs with an aggressive but terrified young anorectic female patient with a history of family abuse, to whom he responds with a challenging and paradoxical dialectic: first he refers to the fairy tale frog prince, implicating himself; and then he acquiesces to her subsequent challenge to him to ‘lie on the couch and speak about sex’. We do not know if she means that she wishes to change places with him, or that she intends to remain on the couch to which she has invited him. Probably the ambiguity is purposeful, if unconscious.

After a reflective pause, Dr Rotmann agrees to the patient's proposition, but clarifies that she would sit in his chair and he would lie on the couch, and he says, ‘and then I'll speak to you as woman to woman if this is easier for you’.

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