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Levine, H.B. (1994). The Analyst's Participation in the Analytic Process. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 75:665-676.

(1994). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 75:665-676

The Analyst's Participation in the Analytic Process

Howard B. Levine


The analyst's moment-to-moment participation in the analytic process is inevitably and simultaneously determined by at least three sets of considerations. These are: (1) the application of proper analytic technique; (2) the analyst's personally-motivated responses to the patient and/or the analysis; (3) the analyst's use of him or herself to actualise, via fantasy, feeling or action, some aspect of the patient's conflicts, fantasies or internal object relationships. This formulation has relevance to our view of actualisation and enactment in the analytic process and to our understanding of a series of related issues that are fundamental to our theory of technique. These include the dialectical relationships that exist between insight and action, interpretation and suggestion, empathy and countertransference, and abstinence and gratification. In raising these issues, I do not seek to encourage or endorse wild analysis, the attempt to supply patients with 'corrective emotional experiences' or a rationalisation for acting out one's countertransferences. Rather, it is my hope that if we can better appreciate and describe these important dimensions of the analytic encounter, we can be better prepared to recognise, understand and interpret the continual streams of actualisation and enactment that are embedded in the analytic process. A deeper appreciation of the nature of the analyst's participation in the analytic process and the dimensions of the analytic process to which that participation gives rise may offer us a limited, although important, safeguard against analytic impasse.

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