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Ogden, T. (1997). Reverie And Metaphor : Some Thoughts On How I Work As A Psychoanalyst. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 78:719-732.

(1997). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 78:719-732

Reverie And Metaphor : Some Thoughts On How I Work As A Psychoanalyst

Thomas Ogden

In this paper, the author presents parts of an ongoing internal dialogue concerning how he works as an analyst. He describes the way in which he attempts to sense what is most alive and most real in each analytic encounter, as well as his use of his own reveries in his effort to locate himself in what is going on at an unconscious level in the analytic relationship. The author views each analytic situation as reflecting, to a large degree, a specific type of unconscious intersubjective construction. Since unconscious experience is by definition outside of conscious awareness, the analyst must make use of indirect (associational) methods such as the scrutiny of his own reverie experience in his efforts to ‘catch the drift’ (Freud, 1923p. 239) of the unconscious intersubjective constructions being generated. Reveries (and all other derivatives of the unconscious) are viewed not as glimpses into the unconscious, but as metaphorical expressions of what the unconscious experience is like. In the author's experience, when an analysis is ‘a going concern’, the analytic dialogue often takes the form of a verbal ‘squiggle game’ (Winnicott, 1971ap. 3) in which the analytic pair elaborates and modifies the metaphors that the other has unself-consciously introduced. The analytic use of reverie and of the role of metaphor in the analytic experience is clinically illustrated.

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