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Bright, G. (2002). Response to the Nymphea symposium. J. Anal. Psychol., 47(4):563-566.

(2002). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 47(4):563-566

Response to the Nymphea symposium

George Bright, M.A., MSc

This symposium raises for me fundamental and highly pertinent questions about the nature of analysis: fundamental because both Martin-Vallas and Gallard are driven by the nature of the Nymphea case to an ontological enquiry about what analysts are doing with their patients; and pertinent because I believe that very many contemporary practitioners of analysis have cases which share the salient characteristics of ‘Nymphea’. These are, I suspect, the cases we rarely discuss, present or bring to supervision. Characteristically, the patient in such cases attends regularly, often at ‘analytic’ frequencies of more than three times a week, and over very substantial periods of time. Whatever the technical or theoretical orientation of the analyst, such patients do not generally afford the analyst space for the kind of interpretative work which is often seen as defining of analysis. However hard the analyst might try to introduce pertinent and well-timed interpretations, these are left to one side, as the patient rather demands discussion of and help with the concrete problems of daily living. Most of us, I guess, feel slightly guilty if we have such cases, as if with them we were not really working analytically; or worse still, we eventually find an excuse to terminate such work, perhaps on the grounds that these patients are not making good use of the short supply of analytic skills. If these cases are discussed at all, they tend to be grouped under a heading of ‘supportive psychotherapy’, as contrasted with ‘interpretative analysis’.

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