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Int J Psychoanal. 1995 Apr;76 ( Pt 2):335-42.

Analytic listening and the analyst's self-analysis.


In recent decades analysts in North America have been writing about the challenge of listening to clinical material in ways which take account of the two person psychoanalytic situation. In that mutually regressive setting, self-analytic thinking on behalf of the analysand is essential for many analysts, because in it the analyst often relies on thoughts and feelings about conflicted and painful personal experience better to understand the analysand's inner experience. Effortful introspection allows some mastery, at least for the moment, of conflict which might otherwise prevent the analyst from thinking about and understanding what his inner experience may be telling him about his patient's mental life. In this essay the author describes the way an humiliating memory from his own childhood, recalled in response to his patient's dream, served as a cornerstone of his self-analytic effort on behalf of his patient. Coupled with self-analysis concerning his recent neck surgery, the analyst's self-reflections allowed him to be sensitive to a critical development in the analysis. This way of working complements the more traditional way analysts develop ideas from direct observation of the analysand in the consulting room.

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