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Reading Here and Now
Conversations with authors in psychotherapy

Aner Govrin & Sharon Ziv-Beiman

A conversation with:
Rachel Blass

Foundations of Psychoanalytic Thinking: Selected Papers on Freud and Klein

A conversation with:
Rachel Blass

June 25, 2023 , 7:30-9:15 PM Israel Time/ 12:30 pm New York Time

Rachel Blass is internationally renowned as an author, teacher, and analyst of the contemporary London Kleinian approach. In dozens of her articles written over the past thirty years, Blass has illuminated many issues and concepts in Klein and Freud's theory from the Oedipus complex and the correct way to teach it, meaning and interpretation, unconscious phantasy, narcissism, the death drive, love, creativity, separation, and attachment theory.

Blass believes psychoanalysis can be considered a theory of the pursuit of truth and the power of truth to heal. She follows in the footsteps of Freud and Klein in the belief that psychoanalysis seeks to heal pathological distress caused by man's refusal to know the unconscious truth, that is, mental reality. Blass argues that other approaches in psychoanalysis have not understood the crucial role of truth in treatment, and as a result, the development of psychoanalytic thinking has been impaired. By maintaining such "unfashionable" positions, Blass challenges the Zeitgeists and has drawn opposition from some contemporary writers.

Her first book in Hebrew, Foundations of Psychoanalytic Thinking: Selected Essays on Freud and Klein, is a collection of papers originally published in English and translated into Hebrew. In this book, Blass reads the writings of Freud and Klein with great patience, which requires a combination of focused and empathic reading, textual analysis, intuition, and respect and trust for the text. Like an archaeologist uncovering more and more layers at an ancient site covered with many layers, Blass makes fascinating discoveries within the writings of Freud and Klein. Among the book's topics:  A new reading in Dora's case and "Leonardo da Vinci's childhood memory," the importance of the pursuit of truth in psychoanalytic treatments,, Betty Joseph and the immediacy of unconscious truth, how analysts from different approaches can use Klein's concept of phantasy and the importance of analytical neutrality.

In this event, Aner Govrin and Sharon Ziv-Beiman will discuss with Rachel Blass the basic concepts in Klein and Freud's theory: fantasy, projective identification, psychic truth, interpretation, the goals of clinical therapy, recent developments in Klein's theory (Betty Joseph, Wilfred Bion and others), and the state of psychoanalysis today.

Rachel Blass lives and works in Jerusalem and is a clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst in the Israeli and British Psychoanalytic Societies. She is one of the leading scholars of our time of Freud's thought. She has an international reputation as an author, teacher, contributor to the shaping of  the contemporary London Kleinian approach. During her time in London, she was supervised  by Hannah Segal and Betty Joseph, students of Klein, and John Steiner, and other prominent successors of Klein.

Foundations of Psychoanalytic Thinking: Selected Essays on Freud and Klein includes a translation of some of the following papers:

Blass, R. B. (1992). Did Dora have an Oedipus complex? A re-examination of the theoretical context of Freud's "Fragment of an analysis." Psychoanal. Study Child, 47:159-187.

Blass, R. B. (2003). The puzzle of Freud's puzzle analogy: Reviving a struggle with doubt and conviction in Freud's Moses and monotheism. Int. J. Psycho-Anal. 84: 669-82

Blass, R. B. (2003). On ethical issues at the foundation of the debate over the goals of psychoanalysis. The International Journal of Psychoanalysis.  84, 929-944.

Blass, R. B. (2006). A psychoanalytic understanding of the desire for knowledge as reflected in Freud's Leonardo da Vinci and a memory of his childhood. Int. J. Psychoanal., 87:1259-1276.

Blass, R. B. (2011). On the immediacy of unconscious truth: Understanding Betty Joseph's "here and now" through comparison with alternative views of it outside of and within Kleinian thinking. The International Journal of Psychoanalysis. 92: 1137-1157.

Blass, R. B. (2016). The quest for truth as the foundation of psychoanalytic practice: A traditional, Freudian-Kleinian perspective. Psychoanal Q 85:305–37.

Blass, R. B. (2017). Reflections on Klein's radical notion of phantasy and its implications for analytic practice. The International Journal of Psychoanalysis. 98:841-859.

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