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Little, S. (2015). Between Silence and Words: the Therapeutic Dimension of Quiet. Contemp. Psychoanal., 51(1):31-50.

(2015). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 51(1):31-50

Between Silence and Words: the Therapeutic Dimension of Quiet

Suzanne Little, Ph.D.

Current relational models favor active engagement and mutual exploration. But for particular patients and in particular phases of work with most patients, coconstructed inquiry cannot be tolerated or used. A setting that permits nonpurposive reverie in which contact is neither sought nor avoided is needed. The British independent tradition of valuing quiet and the capacity to be alone offers a refinement of interpersonal interaction. Living a quiet experience with the analyst is a step towards learning to be alone just as aloneness is a precondition for sophisticated relatedness. I draw on the creative imaginations of Winnicott, Milner, Eigen, and Bollas to show how a deep listening to these developmental dimensions elicit our most alive and authentic selves.

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