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Power, D. (2001). A Consideration of Knowledge and Authority in the Case Seminar. Psychoanal Q., 70(3):625-653.

(2001). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 70(3):625-653

A Consideration of Knowledge and Authority in the Case Seminar

Dolan Power, Ph.D.

This paper examines difficulties in the management of knowledge and authority evidenced in some case seminar settings. The author suggests that the traditional model for the case seminar has not kept pace with evolving ideas about authority and knowledge in the psychoanalytic situation. The tension between our current ways of conceptualizing knowledge and authority in psychoanalysis, and the often unwitting idealization and constriction of knowledge and authority in the case seminar format, are explored. Following a review of the literature on the case seminar, three recommendations for change are discussed: (1) differentiation of the goals of the seminar from those of supervision; (2) reconsideration of the way in which the “failed case” is discussed; and (3) encouragement of the instructor to present clinical material.

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