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Ogden, T.H. (2016). Some Thoughts on Practicing Psychoanalysis. Fort Da, 22(1):21-36.
(2016). Fort Da, 22(1):21-36
Some Thoughts on Practicing Psychoanalysis
Thomas H. Ogden, M.D.
Periodically, I try to find out who I have become, and am becoming, as a psychoanalyst, by writing about that process as best I can (see Ogden, 1994, 1997a, 1997b, 2004, 2009). It is difficult to know where to start in this endeavor, but a point of departure that feels right to me now is that I must invent psychoanalysis freshly with each patient. In what follows, I address different aspects of the way I work as an analyst, while knowing at the outset that these parts cannot possibly come together as an integrated whole that accurately reflects my experience. But, by the act of laying them out here for myself and the reader, I hope they may be of use to the reader in gaining an understanding of how he or she practices psychoanalysis and may provide the beginnings of lines of thought with which the reader may make something of his or her own.
I find myself talking with each patient in a different way, with different tones of voice, different ranges of pitch, volume, and cadences of speech, different syntax and word choice, and in doing so communicate what cannot be said in any other way to any other person. This is not surprising to me in that I do not talk with one of my two grown children in the way I talk to the other; I did not talk with my father, at any stage of my life, as I did with my mother; I do not talk to my wife in a way that I do with anyone else. Each person with whom I enter into intimate conversation draws on me, and I draw on him or her, in such a way that I become a different person to some degree, and speak differently with each of these people. The more intimate the conversation, the more this is true. The conversations I have with my patients are among the most intimate that I have in my life.
I believe that each of my patients would be surprised to overhear the way I talk with any other patient.
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