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Hoffman, I.Z. (1996). The Intimate And Ironic Authority Of The Psychoanalyst's Presence.. Psychoanal Q., 65:102-136.

(1996). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 65:102-136

The Intimate And Ironic Authority Of The Psychoanalyst's Presence.

Irwin Z. Hoffman, Ph.D.


There was a program on cable TV called Sessions. Each episode was organized around a session of psychoanalysis or psychoanalytic therapy, depending on your point of view, with various flashbacks to scenes from the patient's current life situation and childhood as the patient described them. In one episode the patient's mother has had a scare. She's been hospitalized with a heart condition, perhaps a mild heart attack. The patient is on the couch. The analyst or therapist, played by Elliot Gould, comes across as warm and engaging. The patient, who appears to be between thirty-five and forty years old, is estranged from his father. He complains to the analyst about how his father is so self-centered that even under these circumstances he could only think of himself. The patient describes his experience with his father driving home from the hospital after visiting the mother. We see the flashback.

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