Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Irwin Hoffman - The Patient as Interpreter of the Analyst's Experience

"The therapist's analytic task, his tendency toward understanding on the one hand, and his countertransference reactions on the other, often create a sense of real conflict as part of his total experience of the relationship. I think this conflict is invariably a part of what the patient senses about the therapist's response. In fact one subtle type of asocial conception of the patient's experience in psychoanalysis is one which implies that from the patient's point of view the analyst's experience is simple rather than complex, and unidimensional rather than multifaceted. The analyst is considered to be simply objective, or critical, or seductive, or threatened, or nurturant, or empathic. Any truly social conception of the patient's experience in psychoanalysis grants that the patient can plausibly infer a variety of more or less harmonious or conflictual tendencies in the analyst, some of which the patient would imagine were conscious and some of which he would think were unconscious. In such a model, the patient as interpreter understands that, however different it is, the analyst's experience is no less complex than his own." (p. 420)

Irwin Z. Hoffman (1983). The Patient as Interpreter of the Analyst's Experience. Contemporary Psychoanalysis, Vol. 19, pp. 389-422

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