Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Danielle Quinodoz (et al) on the Audacity of Being a Psychoanalyst

Below are excerpts from throughout the paper which, taken together, form a meditation around the idea of audacity in the analytic process:

"The analyst has to find within him- or herself the audacity to be a psychoanalyst . . . Should analysts let their own minds resonate in tune with those of patients? In our work group, we tend to think that this may well be a first step towards a better understanding of the transference: letting oneself be taken over before being able to understand. Letting oneself go in this way may be proof not of negligence but of the analyst's involvement in a distressing moment during the session. It will in fact be easier to do this if there have been previous similar occasions on which the analyst has managed to break free of such situations; with an appropriate degree of confidence in their basic personality structure, analysts can find the audacity to do this . . . How can we find the necessary audacity to accept the unpredictability of psychoanalysis as well as its limitations, the audacity to express our difficulties and our failures?. . . If I myself dare to be an analyst, perhaps supervisees, through introjective identification, will discover in themselves the audacity to be analysts too . . . Daring to be a psychoanalyst does not demand any spectacular degree of audacity, but a much more modest everyday kind, one that may go unnoticed because it later seems quite natural. Nevertheless, psychoanalysts have to accomplish some deep internal processing before they can perceive in all simplicity what is going on inside them in the encounter with the patient in an analytic session. In our work group, we realized just how difficult it could be in that solitude we share only with ourselves to do away with an attitude of pretentiousness and become aware of feelings inside us of which we disapprove. How are we to dare to listen to our countertransference feelings without unconsciously censoring those that appear to be negative? How are we to dare to accept patients whose anxieties and difficulties remind us of our own? How are we to dare to enter, even momentarily, into certain worlds that seem to us to be completely mad, the better to understand them? That audacity is possible only if we can accept not only the limitations of psychoanalysis but also those that are within ourselves. This implies that, whatever the stage we have reached in our professional development, we have to admit to ourselves not only our successes but also our difficulties and our failures in order to be able to learn from them; it implies also that we have the courage to discuss these with our colleagues."

Quinodoz, Danielle; Candy, Aubry; Olivier Bonard; Genevieve DeJussel & Bernard Reith. (2006) Being a Psychoanalyst: An Everyday Audacity. Inter. J. of Psychoanalysis . Vol. 87, pp. 329-347.

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