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Kleeberg, B. (2015). Inquiries in Psychoanalysis. Collected papers of Edna O’Shaughnessy. Psychoanal. Psychother., 29(4):436-438.

(2015). Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, 29(4):436-438

Inquiries in Psychoanalysis. Collected papers of Edna O’Shaughnessy

Birgit Kleeberg

The collected papers of Edna O’Shaughnessy, which span 60 years of clinical work with children and adults, were published in 2014 in time for the celebration of her 90th birthday. Richard Rusbridger’s excellent introduction briefly outlines her professional development from her beginnings as a student of philosophy in South Africa and Oxford, to her training as one of the first child psychotherapists at the Tavistock Clinic, and then as an adult psychoanalyst at the Institute of Psychoanalysis, London. He situates her work in the Kleinian tradition, and tells us that she feels particularly influenced by Roger Money-Kyrle, Esther Bick, Hanna Segal, Herbert Rosenfeld, Betty Joseph and by Wilfred Bion’s early papers.

Her exceptional clinical sensitivity and capacity to find and articulate emotional truth, in combination with the clarity of her thinking, makes reading her papers a unique and profound experience. She writes about her work with psychotic patients, especially with psychotic children, in several of her papers such as The Invisible Oedipus Complex and Psychosis: not thinking in a bizarre world. The subject matter of her papers is wide ranging and includes classic papers such as What is a clinical fact?, Enclaves and Excursions and Can a liar be psychoanalysed?.

She believes that ‘the place with the more determining role in the patient’s illness (is) not external reality but psychic reality with its unconscious phantasies’ (Where is here? When is now? 2008:1).

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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