Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
Tip: To copy parts of an article…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

To copy a phrase, paragraph, or large section of an article, highlight the text with the mouse and press Ctrl + C. Then to paste it, go to your text editor and press Ctrl + V.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Goldberg, A. (2001). Me and Max: A Misalliance of Goals. Psychoanal Q., 70(1):117-130.

(2001). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 70(1):117-130

Me and Max: A Misalliance of Goals

Arnold Goldberg, M.D.



One of the burned-in memories of my lengthy life as an analytic candidate is of an event that took place in a case conference chaired by Maxwell Gitelson. Gitelson was a sort of crotchety and imposing man who was fairly humorless and could easily and honestly be characterized as opinionated. This particular moment of meaning of mine occurred when, to the best of my memory, a student said something or other about either his and/or the patient's hope (and goal) that the patient would soon feel better. Gitelson proclaimed (rather than offered) his opinion that psychoanalysis was not meant to make people feel better or to relieve symptoms; rather, the goal of analysis was to allow patients to better understand themselves. Relief of symptoms was a sort of chance byproduct of such understanding, but it was definitely not the goal of analysis. Nor should any psychoanalyst pursue that essentially secondary effort.

My silent reaction to Gitelson's “Bah, Humbug” appraisal of symptom relief was my own “Bah, Humbug,” since I was convinced that almost everyone I knew in analysis wanted to feel better, and if self-understanding was what had to be swallowed, then that medicine could and would be endured, but it was hardly the goal that I personally would rank as number one. It seemed clear that one person's goal was just not properly or necessarily made for another.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

Copyright © 2021, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.