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Reith, B. (2015). The First Interview: Anxieties and Research on Initiating Psychoanalysis. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 96(3):637-657.

(2015). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 96(3):637-657

The First Interview: Anxieties and Research on Initiating Psychoanalysis Language Translation

Bernard Reith

(Accepted for publication 19 November 2013)

A qualitative clinical study of preliminary interviews by the Working Party on Initiating Psychoanalysis (WPIP) of the European Psychoanalytic Federation suggests that the unconscious dynamics in first interviews are extraordinarily powerful and that they give rise to deep unconscious anxieties in both patient and analyst, with the corresponding defences against them. Furthermore, the group dynamics observed in the clinical workshops and in the research team doing the study suggest that both the anxieties and the defences are conveyed to these groups in the form of unelaborated ‘session residues’ provoking renewed anxieties and defences in them. These findings contribute to our understanding of what goes on in first interviews, but also raise interesting questions about the psychoanalytic research process in psychoanalysis and how confrontation with the unknown is dealt with in that context. Rather than as a means to avoid anxiety, method in clinical research can be seen as a way to help the research group to contain its reactions and to tolerate them until the group finds its way to further elaboration. These points are illustrated with a clinical case drawn from the study.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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