Australasian Journal Of Psychotherapy
NO.1 & 2 - 2009


This combined volume includes both 2009 issues of the journal. Publication has been delayed due to the late influx of papers submitted in the second half of the year, and by the work involved creating and uploading the on-line archive of all back issues from 2003, now available for viewing on the journal’s website, I hope that funding will became available at some time in the future to expand this on-line archive to include all the earlier issues published over the first twenty-one years of the journal’s publication. I gratefully acknowledge that publication of the journal is only possible through the ongoing financial support of the Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Association of Australia, and that our website was established with funding provided by the Dara Foundation, which also continues to support our on-line publication. 

The cover art for this issue is a digital reproduction of ‘Her World’, a work by Brisbane painter Febe Zylstra. The artist describes the relationship between this painting and her personal experience of postnatal depression. Thus Febe, as does Ian McFarlane in his grimly crafted poem, sets the tone for this issue, which strongly features writing on doubt and uncertainty, those vital characteristics of psychoanalytic thinking and practice, and on writing about such processes in our work and in the lives that surround the work, our own lives. 

I was glad to receive a letter from Antoinette Ryan in response to Elisabeth Hanscombe’s autobiographical paper in the last issue, raising questions about the ethics of certain kinds of self disclosure in life writing by psychotherapists. I have published this letter, together with Elisabeth’s response. I hope that this will set a precedent for revival of lively correspondence with the editor of this journal, and of open debate of vital and mortal issues within our association and in the communities we serve. 

I salute the courage of Annette McInerney and her co-authors, Penny Jools and Jan Williams, in writing professionally about the trauma of her own mortal illness and the process of relinquishment of the work, with the help and support of her peers. Annette, Penny and Jan remind us that, rather than striving amongst ourselves as to who is right and who is wrong, we might better join our energies to support each other in facing what we do not know and what we cannot control—that ours is a life and death struggle, one in which we cannot name our own time. 

Ken Israelstam’s paper on Doubt makes use of John Patrick Shanley’s film to explore issues central the central place of doubt and uncertainty within psychoanalytic thinking and practice, in the context of Antonino Ferro’s intersubjective application of the work of Wilfred Bion. The issues that Ken raises in this paper are of contemporary relevance to the way in which we relate and work within our organisations, and to our active interpretation of the analytic frame in practice, in our work, and of analytic theory in understanding and living our lives in community. Paul Schimmel’s paper on the hatred of psychoanalytic thinking contributes further to these ends, and in particular to our work in contexts hostile to psychoanalysis.

Michael Plastow’s discussion paper on Bruce Fink’s recent work raises issues upon which those readers with an investment in Lacanian psychoanalysis may find themselves provoked to draw battle lines for Bruce Fink’s interpretation of Lacan’s work, or with Michael in his disapproval of the liberties that Fink has taken with it. I found myself recalling a confidence whispered to me quietly by a colleague who said that, although he could never be a Lacanian, he might be persuaded to join the Finkians. If this draws a flurry of further correspondence, I would welcome the liveliness of all of that, and of the contribution of any correspondent who could point the way to what might differentiate the stances, on practice and in life, that might follow from these oppositions.

Amanda Dowd’s and Elisabeth Hanscombe’s papers, from the recent POPIG conference in Melbourne, both continue the discourse that has run through recent issues of this journal on the influence of place, displacement, and migration for patients and for practitioners of psychoanalytic work. My paper, presented last September at the 16th International Balint Federation Congress in Romania, describes an effort to establish Balint work in a public mental health clinic serving a socially disadvantaged population, with a work group of practitioners of from different mental health care disciplines and cultural backgrounds as diverse as those of the patients they serve. Toni Heron’s paper is a careful account of process account of long term work with a socially disadvantaged adolescent, with the therapist’s, the patient’s and the supportive carer’s commitment extending so that the work continued across public and private practice settings. The dedication and courage of all parties in this work is readily apparent from Toni’s account, originally presented at the Melbourne PPAA conference of 2008.

We have book reviews by Eugen Koh, Sally Young, Elisabeth Hanscombe and Don Meadows, each addressing works that have relevance to the issues discussed in the papers that comprise this issues­—the dynamic relationships between theory and practice, life and death, life and art, trauma and taboo, and the way in which all of these things manifest themselves the conflicts and the cohesions of our lives, our practices and our communites.

I look forward to contributions from the recent Western Australian 25th anniversary of APPWA appearing in the next issue of the journal. I have accepted the generous offer by Allan Schafer and Kath Davies to act as guest editors for the papers thus generated.

Denis O’Laughlin has retired from the journal’s production committee after many years of service, including his role as book reviews editor, for which I offer my thanks on behalf of the journal committee and the PPAA. I am now inviting any PPAA members who have an interest in writing and editing to make yourselves known to me, as you could make vital contributions the journal, which should continue to be the democratically and independently peer reviewed product of whatever writing is submitted for the consideration of those who make themselves available for service on the production committee or peer review panel. I would value such expressions of interest in service at any level of the journal’s assessment and production processes. I hope you will contribute to adaptation and change in the journal’s processes, including an eventual transition in the editorship. I hope to leave you with something more flexibly generative than Pontius Pilate’s inscription at the time of the crucifixion: ‘Quod scripsi scripsi—What I have written, I have written (and I will not and cannot change it, not one letter of it, because in the process of inscribing it, I have made it Law).’

Andrew Leggett
P.O. Box 5389
West End, QLD. 4101

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