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Casement, P. (2002). Learning from Life. Psychoanal. Inq., 22(4):519-533.

(2002). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 22(4):519-533

Learning from Life

Patrick Casement, M.A.

For Many Analysts, the Choice of a Career in Psychoanalysis Can be found to lie deep-rooted in our own experience. It is therefore likely that our approach to clinical work will have been influenced, sometimes quite profoundly, by our own life experience. So the theoretical orientation at which we eventually arrive, the approach to clinical work, and the technique we come to prefer, may well have been selected subjectively, rather than having been chosen quite as objectively as we might wish to believe.

Unfortunately it is rare for the connections between life experience and clinical orientation to be openly addressed, probably because most analysts choose to keep their personal details out of the public arena, and with good reason. Such self-disclosure is almost bound to contaminate the transference, thus interfering with the clinical work that lies at the center of their professional endeavor.

I have had to make a difficult choice here. Do I only address the topic of this chapter indirectly, still being careful to preserve for myself the personal privacy that I have always counted on in my clinical work? Or do I take advantage of the stage of life at which I am now asked to write on this topic? Having decided not to take on any new clinical work, and working towards my retirement with current patients, I have decided that I have an unusual opportunity here to address the topic under discussion without the protection, in preserving relative anonymity, that I would normally claim for myself.

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