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CHAPTER TEN: An “internal supervisor”

Gillian Preston Karnac Books ePub

Elizabeth Wilde McCormick

Nina was my clinical supervisor for my private psychotherapy practice from 1989 until 1994. I owe her much. She lives on as an “internal supervisor”, and I often hear her voice saying things such as, “Are you really sure about that my dear?”, or “What an extraordinary story!” I also draw on her as a strong role model, for a lot of my therapeutic work today is supervision of experienced practitioners from different orientations.

I wrote to her initially to ask if she would take me on because I had heard of her work and I wanted to understand something of the Freudian approach to psychotherapy, which had been missing from my training. My background was in social psychiatry, humanistic and transpersonal psychology, and cognitive analytic therapy. At our first meeting, she asked me to explain what it was I wanted from her. I must have done this adequately, because she beamed and her eyes sparkled as she said, “Yes, dear, no one really understands sex and power as well as Freud!”

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CHAPTER THIRTY-THREE: Hotel drama in New York

Gillian Preston Karnac Books ePub


The main Reception Area of the Warwick Hotel, West 54th Street, New York.


7.30 p.m., on a hot and humid Saturday night.

Dramatis personae

An elderly and weary LADY DOCTOR.

MATTHEW: An insolent young man, at Reception.

RALPH: An ever-smiling bellman, probably both cunning and thick. He may be Austrian.

MUHAMMED: Another receptionist.


(LADY DOCTOR has worked all week in Washington in a

temperature of 90°, then been in Boston for 35 hours, where she

has done a small seminar, a long evening lecture and a whole-day

Workshop of 80 people—that very day. She had then flown into

New York and been driven by a sullen lunatic from La Guardia to

mid-town Manhattan. She heaves her heavy overnight bag to the

long counter in the empty hall, and waits.

MATTHEW appears. He is a fierce-looking young man, with a fuzz of

black hair, though he is white, with brilliant light blue eyes. He

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CHAPTER FORTY: Reason and Violence

Gillian Preston Karnac Books ePub

In this book, Laing and Cooper present expositions of Sartre’s three major works of the past decade. There is a lucid introduction, which for most profit should be re-read immediately once one has finished the book: it illuminates the difficult terminology, and particularly discusses the concept of “ambiguity” in Sartre’s work and language for which the reader should prepare himself if he is to attempt understanding. Part One––”Question of Method”—repays careful and attentive reading, as the use of such concepts as praxis, totalization, depassment thereby become more intelligible: if some awareness of them is assimilated, then Part Three—”Critique of dialectical reason”—is best taken at a run, without too much vertiginous dwelling on individual statements. The ideas it is expressing are vastly comprehensive and complex, and can best be appreciated in this way. Part One speaks more directly to the practising psychoanalyst, making one reflect on possible extensions of technique, and on increase in flexibility. While the section on Genet presents a fascinating existential study in terms which are reasonably accessible to a clinician, the Questions of Method offer stimulating lines of thought on the extent to which psychoanalysis compares unconflictingly with Sartre’s thought, and yet how far also Sartre “depasses” it.

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CHAPTER SIXTEEN: Nina Coltart: a person of paradox

Gillian Preston Karnac Books ePub

Stuart A. Pizer

Nina Coltart understood, wrote about, and embodied paradox. As she affirmed with respect to Buddhism (which she practised for decades): “For a Westerner to proceed healthily on the spiritual path which may lead to self-transcendence, and loss of 'the fortress of I’, there needs must exist already a stable, strong sense of personal identity” (1992, p. 167). Thus, as a psychoanalyst, Coltart remained firmly grounded in the foundations of classical theory, and a crispness of technically practised formulations and interpretations, while also bringing us with her into the realm of ambiguity, mystery, silence, faith, patience, awe, and even joy in working “in the dark”.

She advocated rigorous preparation for clinical work and a lifelong dedication to sharpening our conceptual focusing skills. Without a doubt, Nina was secure in her discipline, strictly mindful of her technical frame and acute in her clinical observations. But, at the same time, she recognized that psychoanalysts, along with their necessary responsibilities and their requisite tools, need also to embody and bring into their consulting rooms a larger moral, humanistic, and spiritual perspective. As she succinctly put it, “treatment” begins with how we “treat” another person.

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CHAPTER TWENTY-SIX: A five-minute introduction

Gillian Preston Karnac Books ePub

Gillian Preston

At last I’ve made it, though I did wonder when a points failure at Redhill station delayed all the trains by an hour!

Thank you for continuing to include me, and thank you for keeping Nina’s name alive in this unique way.

For some of you I maybe am a new name and new face … I am Nina’s kid sister by four and a half years. I could title the next few minutes “101 things you never knew, and could not possibly guess about Nina”. One of my earliest memories is of her chasing me round the garden of our house in Kent, where our father was a GP, trying to put earthworms down my neck. I don’t think she succeeded, nor do I think it did me any lasting trauma. I quite like them, especially in my compost heap. She also had devious ways of playing on my childhood fear of the dark … our Cornish home, at that time being lit by oil lamps and candles, which gave her plenty of scope … in retrospect, it seems a little out of character?

She came to medicine late, having read French and Spanish at Somerville College, Oxford, where she was a popular President of the Junior Common Room, and managed to collect a half-blue in squash along the way.

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