Sunday, May 25, 2008

In Memorium

Remembering Charles Brenner, M.D.

It was with great sadness that I read of the death of Dr. Charles Brenner on Monday, May 19, 2008. Dr. Brenner was my first supervisor during my training at NYPI. He was gentlemanly and generous, and he modeled for me the interminable patience that psychoanalytic work requires.

He was, as a supervisor, neither didactic nor pedantic. Instead, he patiently listened to me week after week, year after year, describe to him my first control case. He saw within two weeks the analysand's developing erotic transference. But he did not push the point. He wanted me to grow to see what was in the analysand's material (just as the analysand must develop readiness to see), and it took me --for whatever reasons--six months. It was an invaluable lesson. By his example, I learned to wait with my patients.

And he was unflappable. He listened with great equanimity. With both of those traits as a guidepost I live daily in my consulting room. While more contemporary thought informs me today, Br. Brenner's example remains with me, the foundation for listening to the narrative. His memory is cherished by me, and he will be missed by many.

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