|After a two-and-a-half year absence, the BULLETIN is back. Gratitude is due to David Stein and George Sagi for the significant but largely invisible work they’ve done during this period to try to keep the Bulletin alive. Let me explain where we’ve been and how we’ve changed.
The BULLETIN has always been a collection of reports of the monthly scientific meetings of the APM (1) along with news from the center and the APM. The reports have been written by candidates for the most part. Over time it became increasingly difficult to find candidates interested in writing these reports, until eventually it was no longer possible to publish an issue. As a solution the former editor, David Stein, thought it might be interesting to invite post-graduate analysts to write reports about the meetings that included their own ideas and opinions. For a couple of issues this approached worked, but then it too became a problem and writers could not be found. Despite valiant efforts by David, without reporters there was nothing to put in the BULLETIN, and so it became dormant.
Clearly that format is not working. If we believe that having a society-based publication is valuable, then finding some new approach is necessary. The current issue represents only one of many possible routes toward resurrecting the BULLETIN. It will take a little time to see if it can work. The content of our new BULLETIN will no longer focus exclusively on providing reports of the monthly meetings. We now have a group of editors, each with their own section, who will be deciding what interesting issues within their area to bring to the APM community. This means that our content is no longer contingent on the monthly meetings, or on the wishes of a single editor. Content will be decided section by section by each editor. The BULLETIN is now something like a house with many rooms. Each room is constructed by its own builder. My aim is to bring these rooms together into a home where we can live. A given article may take off from a monthly meeting, or may involve the kind of clinical or theoretical issues found in our main psychoanalytic journals. But in general neither is likely to be the case. Sometimes articles may come across as misguided, inappropriate, or just plain wrong. Our purpose is not to be an arbiter of any of those qualities. One can expect our articles to tend toward the local, idiosyncratic and, at times, controversial. The guiding principles are to provide articles of interest and value to the community, and a forum for discussion.
Psychoanalysts can be a stuffy bunch, and our reticence about laying our cards on the table and saying what we really think is often an obstacle to the progress of our field. This has become apparent to some of the editors in their efforts to uncover new and noteworthy material for the BULLETIN. There is a sense that emerges at times that being open, expressing unsanctioned ideas, could lead to negative consequences for one’s career, or in how one is regarded in the community. Politics (in the negative sense of the word) never seems to be far away. It is not clear exactly what these career-consequences might be, or whether such fears are based more in fantasy or reality, but they appear to be widespread and have certainly been a frustration to some of our editors. At this point, all one can do is to point it out and hope for greater openness in the future. It also suggests that anonymity for our sources may at times be warranted.
The current issue of the BULLETIN is divided into the following sections: Candidate Issues, Interface with Psychiatry, Psychoanalytic Education, Culture, Inter-Institute Issues. Alex Lerman has, single-handedly, been writing pithy reports of the monthly meetings for the last 11⁄2 years that have been distributed by email. Those reports will be reprinted here, and at times Alex will add commentary by an invited discussant. In future volumes we expect to have other sections. Interviews will be included on occasion as well. I hope to add a section on interesting clinical moments, though this poses special challenges with respect to people’s willingness to reveal their clinical work, as well as matters of confidentiality. There is no grand design in this distribution of sections for what is essential in such a publication; rather it reflects my personal interests, the interests of those invited to serve as editors, and the various compromises worked out between us. I welcome suggestions for other sections from members of our community.
One forum where we hope people will get involved and be direct is in a letters section. There has been little reason for such a section in the past, but our new format calls out for one. There is actually little opportunity for dialogue within our community as a whole. Perhaps the twice yearly faculty meetings of the institute, and the once-a-year meeting for members of the APM, are the closest we come. I think we all know there is much more on people’s minds than we ever hear in those settings. A letters section also can provide a space for broader interaction between candidates and faculty, senior faculty and junior faculty, teachers and non-teachers, and so on. Responses to articles are welcome, and we encourage people to write in on other topics as well if it seems relevant.
This new format is an experiment, and the “new” BULLETIN may quickly slide into a “new” oblivion and we find ourselves BULLETIN-less again. In the spirit of openness and a faith in the exchange of ideas let’s keep talking.
Henry Schwartz, M.D.
(1) Helen and Don Meyers have retained copies of the Bulletin that date back to Volume 1, Number 3, dated February, 1962. Presumably V. 1, No. 1 was from the early fall, 1961. Out of interest I will mention the contents: Editor, James Catell; Consulting editor, David Levy; Assoc. eds, Arnold Cooper, Howard Davidman, Terry Rogers, Daniel Shapiro; Editorial board, Henriette Klein, Donald Dunton, George Goldman, Aaron Karush, and John Weber. It contained a “Message from the president,” a summary of two meetings written by the editorial staff (“A Comparative Study of Emotional Disorder in Toxic and Non-Toxic Goiter,” by Joseph Lubart, and “Place of ‘Neutral Screen’ Therapist-Participation in Psychotherapy with the Schizophrenic Patient,” by Harold Searles), and “Association News and Notes.” The total length was 14 pages.
|The BULLETIN welcomes original articles, guest editorials, opinions, reviews, letters, clinical vignettes, news items and announcements. Please send editorial correspondence to Henry Schwartz, 41 Union Square West, Room 402, New York, NY 10003.
Send all other correspondence to the Bulletin, The Association for Psychoanalytic Medicine, 335 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024 [phone: 718-548-6088]
If you would like to obtain a particular article in electronic text, please, contact George Sagi, M.D.