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Meerloo, J.A. (1962). Communication at our Scientific Conferences. Am. J. Psychoanal., 22(1):88-92.

(1962). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 22(1):88-92

Communication at our Scientific Conferences

Joost A. M. Meerloo, M.D.

When I was invited to take part in a round-table discussion on distorted communication with the neurotic, I asked to be the last speaker because I felt it especially important to stress the countertransference part of the doctor-patient communication. The last speaker on a panel provokes the greatest amount of negative transference feelings in his listeners. In this case, you should now be in an appropriate mood to absorb my ponderings about our own limited means of communication.

It has become a more and more valid viewpoint in psychoanalysis to ask ourselves as therapists not merely, “Where did the patient resist?” but also, “Where—consciously or unconsciously—did we ourselves fail?” Our meetings and mutual discussions often represent unwitting examples of how we fail to communicate and obtain rapport with our colleagues and, consequently, might also fail in similar ways with our patients. Our verbal prejudices must already have an impact on our therapeutic rapport with patients.

I have often wondered what intangible quality it is that makes some professional meetings so inspiring, sparkling, and fascinating, while others find us less interested, uninterested, and occasionally even bored.

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