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Kanzer, M. (1980). Visual Communication in the Psychoanalytic Situation. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 61:249-258.

(1980). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 61:249-258

Visual Communication in the Psychoanalytic Situation

Mark Kanzer


The relationship between verbal and visual aspects of the analytic proceedings shows them blended integrally in the experiences of both patient and analyst and in contributing to the insights derived during the treatment. Areas in which the admixture of the verbal and visual occur are delineated. Awareness of the visual aspects gives substance to the operations of empathy, intuition, acting out, working through, etc. Some typical features of visual 'language' are noted and related to the analytic situation. As such they can be translated with the use of logic and consciousness on the analyst's part, not mere random eruptions of intuition.

The original significance of dreams as a royal road to the unconscious is confirmed—but we also find in them insights to be derived with higher mental processes. Finally, dyadic aspects of the formation and aims of dreams during analysis are pointed out, with important implications for the analyst's own self-supervision of his techniques and 'real personality' and their effects upon the patient. How remarkable that Dora's dreams, all too belatedly teaching Freud about their transference implications, still have so much more to communicate that derives from his capacity to record faithfully observations he was not yet ready to explain.

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