Hanna Segal

Thanks to an email from an Edinburgh friend I heard that Hanna Segal had died last month, aged 93. She was the first person I ever saw as a client/patient way back in 1970 and she was indeed impressive and friendly and smoked a cigar during the consultation. It was 1970! Then she said I needed to see someone who would address my scientific mind and recommended accordingly. At the time, I had no idea she was married to a mathematician, nor that she was so well-known as a thinker in the psychoanalytic world.

One of the things about her which was impressive, and has probably influenced me more than I have realised was mentioned in the Guardian obituary:

Segal believed that the psychoanalytic understanding of the pervasiveness of our destructiveness, and the human cost of its denial, can contribute in an important way to sociopolitical questions. Although she was criticised for her political involvement, some suggesting it went against the neutrality that characterises psychoanalysis, she believed this was based on a misunderstanding. Psychoanalytic neutrality, she asserted, is a clinical stance for the consulting room and needs to be distinguished from “allowing oneself to be neutered as a citizen”.

And, thanks to this email, being reminded of other ideas, and then a quick google, I re-found another site I have often used in the past , Robert Young’s PSYCHOANALYSIS AND PSYCHOTHERAPY which is full of articles and information – more of the big ideas to be found here.

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