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J Lacan
J Lacan

Well Known Figures in Psychoanalysis

Psychoanalysis Ireland


Well Known Figures in Psychoanalysis

Ella Sharpe (1875 - 1947)

Ella Sharpe is a psychoanalyst who truly deserves the name. The quality of her clinical work has been applauded by both Ernest Jones and Jacques Lacan. She was never motivated by the desire to cure but only to understand the hidden causes of illness. She began her career as an English teacher and developed an interest in child psychoanalysis before the arrival of Melanie Klein in England. She trained as an analyst at the Brunswick Square Clinic in 1917 and, like Edward Glover, went to Berlin for analysis in 1920.
Her lifelong interest in literature perhaps honed a particularly detailed attention to the relationship between her patientís words and their unconscious concerns. Indeed, in this unique prizing of language, especially metaphor, she was ahead of her time in that we now know that we think essentially in metaphor. Sharpe examined the choice of words used in dreams and free association and said that in analytic technique in general words both reveal and conceal thought and emotion.
Many of Ella Sharpeís literary analyses continued in Freudís style. In ĎThe Impatience of Hamletí (1929), she continues Jonesís 1910) study and deepens it to consider Oedipal issues and the therapeutic function of art. She is best known for her eminently practical book Dream Analysis (1937). Jones commented in 1950 that few analysts can command her supreme gift of listening and taking literally and seriously every word spoken by the patient in the treatment. It is this focus on the patientís actual spoken words, rather than on any meaning implied or attributed, which explains the interest Ella Sharpe has for Lacan and his followers

Selected Works:
Dream Analysis (1937)
Further Reading:
The Impatience of Hamlet (1929)
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