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Int J Psychoanal. 1998 Oct;79 ( Pt 5):903-21.

Non-interpretive mechanisms in psychoanalytic therapy. The 'something more' than interpretation. The Process of Change Study Group.

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Children's Hospital, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


It is by now generally accepted that something more than interpretation is necessary to bring about therapeutic change. Using an approach based on recent studies of mother-infant interaction and non-linear dynamic systems and their relation to theories of mind, the authors propose that the something more resides in interactional intersubjective process that give rise to what they will call 'implicit relational knowing'. This relational procedural domain is intrapsychically distinct from the symbolic domain. In the analytic relationship it comprises intersubjective moments occurring between patient and analyst that can create new organisations in, or reorganise not only the relationship between the interactants, but more importantly the patient's implicit procedural knowledge, his ways of being with others. The distinct qualities and consequences of these moments (now moments, 'moments of meeting') are modelled and discussed in terms of a sequencing process that they call moving along. Conceptions of the shared implicit relationship, transference and countertransference are discussed within the parameters of this perspective, which is distinguished from other relational theories and self-psychology. In sum, powerful therapeutic action occurs within implicit relational knowledge. They propose that much of what is observed to be lasting therapeutic effect results from such changes in this intersubjective relational domain.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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