MY EXPERIENCE OF ANALYSIS
How Complete a Result Does
Psychoanalytic Therapy Achieve?
It does not seem to me useful to attempt a purely theoretical answer to the question forming the subtitle. Theory does not seem to me to be the major concern. It is a useful servant but a bad master, liable to produce orthodox defenders of every variety of the faith. We ought always to sit light to theory and be on the lookout for ways of improving it in the light of therapeutic practice. It is therapeutic practice that is the real heart of the matter. In the last resort good therapists are born not trained, and they make the best use of training. Maybe the question “How complete a result can psychoanalytic therapy produce?” raises the question “How complete a result did our own training analysis produce?” Analysts are advised to be open to postanalytic improvements, so presumably we do not expect “an analysis” to do a “total” once-for-all job. We must know about postanalytic developments if we are to assess the actual results of the primary analysis. We cannot deal with this question purely on the basis of our patients' records. They must be incomplete for the primary analysis and nonexistent afterwards. As this question had unexpected and urgent relevance in my case, I was compelled to grapple with it; so I shall risk offering an account of my own analysis with Fairbairn and Winnicott, and its aftereffects: especially as this is the only way I can present a realistic picture of what I take to be the relationship between the respective contributions of these two outstanding analysts, and what I owe to them.