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Arlow, J.A. (1993). Two Discussions of 'The Mind of the Analyst' and a Response from Madeleine Baranger. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 74:1147-1155.

(1993). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 74:1147-1155

Two Discussions of 'The Mind of the Analyst' and a Response from Madeleine Baranger

Jacob A. Arlow

A more timely topic for this Congress than 'The Mind of the Analyst: From Listening to Interpretation' is hard to imagine. In recent years we have witnessed a growing number of contributions to our literature dealing with the inner experience of the analyst as he listens and as he reaches conclusions concerning the mental processes of his patients. If, in keeping with the topic of a recent international Congress, we are pursuing the search for a common ground, it is here, I believe, that we can find it, in the experiences we share in the standard setting of the psychoanalytic situation. At some time each day, every analyst ponders how he proceeded from listening to interpretation. These issues, indeed, are the very centre of our concerns.

We are grateful, therefore, to Baranger (1993) who, from her long and deep experience, placed at the beginning of her contribution the real, the practical issues that bring analyst and analysand together. The patient comes to treatment for some pressing need. Once he has sought out the services of a psychoanalyst, whether he has said so in words or not, the patient feels that there is something wrong with how his mind works, that something is out of his control, and it must be due to factors in him of which he is not aware. Otherwise, he would not consult a psychoanalyst. Elucidating the influence of unconscious elements on mental functioning is the province of psychoanalysts. The real professional relationship is a constant feature of the analytic situation and, however remote it may seem from the task at hand, at some level the patient's productions are directed toward the therapeutic task.

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