Writing About Patients

Responsibilities, Risks, and Ramifications


Publication Date: Aug 17, 2006

256 pp

Trade Paperback

List Price US $26.00
ISBN: 9781590511442


An important new study of the clinical conundrum surrounding the publication of patient material

The publication, presentation, and discussion of case studies are essential to the dialogue of psychoanalysis. However, presenting patient material to the public by either disguising the patient’s identity or asking for the patient’s consent presents a clinical dilemma. In a series of interviews, Judy Leopold Kantrowitz asks 141 analysts not only to describe their thoughts about disguising a patient versus asking a patient’s consent to appear in a paper, but also their perceptions of the clinical ramifications of a patient reading the material, whether by accident or design. In first-hand accounts, both analysts-as-patients and patients who are not themselves analysts relate the experience of reading about themselves, and reflect on the impact that reading had on their view of their analysts, themselves, and the analytic work.

Ethical concerns about confidentiality and decision making are examined both in theory and in the context of their clinical effect. Throughout the book, Kantrowitz examines the conscious and unconscious motives for analysts in writing about a patient, ultimately demonstrating that the conflict between the need to preserve patient privacy and the need for a literature including clinical material is not easily resolved.



Excerpt from Writing About Patients

“Kantrowitz’s important book marks a turning point in the clinical and ethical culture of psychotherapy and psychoanalysis.” —Lewis Aron, New York University