Warren Poland is an outstanding thinker whose contributions have focused both on the psychoanalytic process and the application of psychoanalytic thought to broad cultural issues. In his book Melting the Darkness: The Dyad and Principles of Clinical Practice and in a separate series of papers he has brought a fresh study to the dynamic depths of the clinical analytic interchange. In particular, he has highlighted the analyst’s non-interpretive function of witnessing the patient’s unique otherness.
His other publications have examined broader cultural issues, including the similarities between the experience of a clinical analysis and engaged reading, using Proust’s masterpiece for illustration. In his papers and in his regular column “Clinician’s Corner” in American Imago, he has touched on such varied subjects as outsiderness, courage, revenge, humor and whimsy. His writing places psychoanalysis within the broad culture of literature, drawing deeply from writers as varied as Samuel Johnson and Gustave Flaubert, from philosphers such as Emmanuel Levinas.
His writing has been described as both poetic and inspirational while rooted in a disciplined study of and emphasis on the importance of ‘otherness’ and the ways in which the analyst may aid in the development of genuine authenticity in the patient. He has established thoughtful humaneness and has freed the analyst to engage the patient in the human moment with mutual benefit while maintaining the disciplined integrity of the analytic process.