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Plaut, A. (1997). Thomas H. Ogden, ‘Reconsidering three aspects of psychoanalytic technique’Int. J. Psycho-Anal, 1996, 77:883-899. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 78:160.

(1997). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 78:160

Thomas H. Ogden, ‘Reconsidering three aspects of psychoanalytic technique’Int. J. Psycho-Anal, 1996, 77:883-899

Alfred Plaut

Dear Sir,

Ogden’s reconsiderations originate from a combination of Bion’s concept of reverie and Winnicott’s ‘third area’, i.e. between reality and fantasy, as well as the fruitful tension between communication and non-communication (privacy). Much of Ogden’s paper strikes a chord and is also in accord with Debussy, whose remark on the ‘space between the notes’ as the location of music he quotes. Yet I felt that ‘the notes’ receive insufficient attention, as without these there can be neither space nor music nor analysis. Here are two examples:

The first concerns the recognition and interpretation of the transference. If this is not sufficiently delineated, the reveries of patient and analyst must lead to an idealisation of the concept of reverie. This, in turn, would lead to a failure of technique in the direction to which Ogden himself refers as the ‘privilege of the positive transference’. We never hear of a reverie that transforms a beta-element of mute aggression or the death instinct into a relatively harmless (because manageable) image like the analyst throwing the patient out of the window or vice versa. In other words, there must be an analytic second such as a dialogue about disagreement before there can be ‘the analytic third’.

Second, and intimately connected with the analysis of the transference, is the establishment of trust. Winnicott, in Playing and Reality, (1971p. 102) quoted from a paper of mine on this very point.

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