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Astor, J. (2005). The self invented personality? Reflections on authenticity and writing analytic papers. J. Anal. Psychol., 50(4):415-430.

(2005). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 50(4):415-430

The self invented personality? Reflections on authenticity and writing analytic papers

James Astor, BSc, MPsych

One of the great themes of American literature is the self-invented personality, whether it is Scott Fitzgerald's Gatsby or one of Philip Roth's alter egos, such as Nathaniel Zuckerman. This is just one of several approaches which novelists employ. They take a problem from life, perhaps their own, and then embark on solving the problem of the book—which is how to write about this. Sometimes, as in Tobias Wolff's novel Old School, the personality of the narrator is woven into an exploration of the creative process itself. Wolff's novel concerns itself not just with writing but with how to become a writer. I explore how this process is similar to both writing about analysis and becoming an analyst.

In doing this I discuss issues of authenticity, fiction, art, the effects of identification, the power of the super ego, supervision and learning, integrity of life and work, envy and the xenocidal impulse, the regulation of our profession and the loss of trust, and in so doing join in discussion with Plaut, Wharton, Tuckett and others about professional communications, the internal world and the mysteriousness of our relation to our internal objects.

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