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Yamaguchi, S. (2012). Analytic Listening and the Five Senses: Commentary. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 60(4):813-815.

(2012). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 60(4):813-815

Analytic Listening and the Five Senses: Commentary Related Papers

Susan Yamaguchi

All of our five senses reside in the body. The preceding papers bring us “back to our senses” and put the body back into its rightful and important place in psychoanalytic thinking.

As analysts, we “listen” using our own idiosyncratic sensory “listening devices.” Some of us favor what we hear, others what we see, or touch, taste, or smell to find our way in the world. These sensory modalities develop unconsciously through our innate capacities and are honed from specific experiences that shape the senses that we privilege. As analysts, we attempt to “listen” using many of our senses, but some analysts may have developed specific sensory capacities, listening devices they can unconsciously access while listening to patients.

The papers printed here were originally presented on the panel “Analytic Listening and the Five Senses.” The authors each describe their particular sensory predilections and how their artistic, musical, or poetic discipline informs their listening. In particular, they describe how their capacity to access unconscious processes allows them to know something before they come to know it consciously.

I am a potter and bring with me a particular kind of listening that I unconsciously developed over years of placing my hands to the clay as I threw pots. I “listen” as I touch the clay, listening to its movement, its textures, to its non-shape before it starts to take shape. As an analyst, I find myself listening to the silences, to the movements, to the non-words, the non-shapes. If I can tolerate the space of this kind of not-knowing and tolerate the waiting, then I might have the chance to come to know even more.


[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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