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Zimmerman, D.P. (1996). A Memorial Essay on Merton Max Gill (1914–1994). Psychoanal. Psychol., 13(2):275-288.

(1996). Psychoanalytic Psychology, 13(2):275-288

A Memorial Essay on Merton Max Gill (1914–1994)

Review by:
D. Patrick Zimmerman, PsyD

Psychoanalysis in Transition: A Personal View, by Merton M. Gill. Hillsdale, NJ: The Analytic Press, 1994, xvii + 179 pp., $29.95.

Merton Gill's final book, subtitled A Personal View, may aptly be understood from a retrospective perspective as a fitting presentation of his intellectual memoirs. From that vantage point, Gill's final book conveys a wish that his personal legacy be understood by the public in terms of his evolving contributions to change and new perspectives in the history of psychoanalytic theory and technique, rather than through other details of his personal life. Elsewhere, however, Hoffman (1985, 1996) has provided the interested reader with a brief biographical chronology of Gill's professional life and associations, along with an exquisitely detailed examination of the scope of Gill's theoretical psychoanalytic contributions and reformulations. Hoffman organized that commentary on Gill's theory development in terms of three fundamental areas: (a) the challenge of describing the nature of psychoanalysis as a discipline (including Gill's contributions to and later critiques of metapsychology), (b) clinical contributions, including the challenges involved in defining the nature of the psychoanalytic situation and the most valuable psychoanalytic techniques, and (c) clinical research and Gill's unwavering belief that there was an imperative demand to find ways to subject psychoanalysis to systematic observation and empirical validation, despite the enormous challenges to such an enterprise.


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