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Spence, D.P. (1993). Beneath the Analytic Surface: The Analysand's Theory of Mind. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 74:729-738.

(1993). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 74:729-738

Beneath the Analytic Surface: The Analysand's Theory of Mind

Donald P. Spence


A growing body of research on the way children change their forms of thinking and views of the world from around the ages of 2 to 5 strongly suggests that something called a 'theory of mind' is acquired during this time which significantly affects the course of language acquisition, moral development, interactive problem-solving and other cognitive attributes. As we learn more about the adult varieties of this theory of mind we begin to realise their implications for psychoanalysis. This paper considers such issues as: what kind of theory of mind is assumed by our reliance on the Basic Rule? What kind of theory is

required to understand the usual range of standard interventions? How can deficiencies in the analysand's theory of mind interfere with standard interpretations? As research on theory of mind makes us increasingly sensitive to the importance of different forms of thinking about thinking, we can apply many of these insights to common problems of psychoanalytic technique.

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