A Psychoanalytic Memoir: The Analyst Enabled and Disabled by What is Personal

by Judith L. Kantrowitz, PhD

In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

How do we become analysts? In this essay I will present a trajectory of my use of my self and my understanding of the mutual influences my patients and I have had on each other over my professional life. The use of my self and the mutual influences my patients and I have on each other, of course, are about the patient-analyst match. I believe our engagement reflects a process of working through for me, as well as for each of my patients. Events in our lives also affect who we become as people—sometimes only in subtle ways and sometimes more significantly. Changes in our selves have reverberations in our work with patients.

When I began my psychoanalytic training in 1968, we were taught that analysts were meant to be “blank screens.” Patients could and would project their difficulties onto us. Who we were, our conflicts and character, were to have been smoothed out in our personal analyses and our personalities purged of the tendency to appear in our offices. Analysts were assumed to be interchangeable. I know this sounds like a parody of analysis. I also now know that many analysts, even then, were not like this, but it is what we were taught. I admit to having been incredulous. Really? Who we were as people would not enter our work with patients? Before my training, I had worked primarily with children and been relatively free in using my self intuitively in the work <…>

Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association68(1), 83–100, March 2020.

Link to Online Publication [fulltext can be requested from the library].

About the Author

Photograph by Allen Palmer, MD

Judy Leopold Kantrowitz, PhD, is a Training and Supervising Analyst at the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute and an Associate Clinical Professor at Harvard Medical School. She is the author of The Role of the Patient-Analyst Match in the Process and Outcome of Psychoanalysis (2020) , The Patient’s Impact on the Analyst (1996)Writing about Patients: Responsibilities, Risks, and Ramifications (2006), and Myths of Termination: What patients can teach psychoanalysts about endings (2014). She is on the Editorial Board of the Psychoanaltyic Quarterly and has a private practice in Brookline, MA.

Meet the Author event to discuss Dr. Kantrowitz’s new book
Patient-Analyst Match in the Process and Outcome of Psychoanalysis is scheduled for Mon, Sep 27, 2021.

Previous Posts:

Cuneyt Iscan, MD (2020). Learning Along the Way: Further Reflections on Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy by Patrick Casement, Routledge, Abingdon and New York, 2019, 156pp. American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 80:2, 235-239.

Anna Ornstein, MD (2020). The Relativity of Morality in the Contemporary World. Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 40:4, 223-233.

Sarah Ackerman, PhD (2020). Impossible Ethics. Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. 2020;68(4):561-582.

Cordelia Schmidt-Hellerau, PhD (2020). How Demagogy Works: Reflections on Aggression in Politically Fraught Times. Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 40:4, 234-242

Judy Yanof, MD (2020). A Separation: Breaking Up Is Hard to Do. The Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 73:1, 172-181.

Elsa Ronningstam et al. (2020). Psychotherapeutic Treatment of Depressive Symptoms in Patients with Narcissistic Disturbances: A Review. Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy50, 21–28.

John C. Foehl (2020). Lived Depth: A Phenomenology of Psychoanalytic Process and Identity. Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 40(2), 131-146.

Click here to see a full archive of featured papers. All articles can be requested from the library.