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Tuttman, S. (1987). Exploring the Analyst's Treatment Stance in Current Psychoanalytic Practice. J. Amer. Acad. Psychoanal., 15(1):29-37.

(1987). Journal of American Academy of Psychoanalysis, 15(1):29-37

Exploring the Analyst's Treatment Stance in Current Psychoanalytic Practice

Saul Tuttman, M.D., Ph.D.

Early in the development of psychoanalysis, Freud (1914) discovered that neither suggestion nor catharsis results in lasting effective treatment. Gradually, he came to appreciate the value of a “talking cure” where the patient “free-associates,” gradually exposing to consciousness personal feelings and conflicts, regardless of external realities or social propriety. The analyst, by being attentive and listening acceptingly (unencumbered as possible by personal predilection or value system), encourages the patient to unfold a secret inner world of personal suffering. This process is facilitated when the analyst recognizes countertransference influence and strives for objectivity. Ideally the observing potential of both patient and analyst develops gradually in alliance and trust. This helps the analysand overcome resistance and achieve the eventual “working through” of transferences.

The goal is to make the unconscious conflicts conscious and to understand the history of the patient's psychological state, the symptoms, character, and current life predicament. This treatment involves a joint search for an objective understanding of subjective experience. A vital factor in this process is the attitude or therapeutic stance of the analyst.

This paper addresses the stance of the psychoanalyst. By stance is meant “a posture, a mode of standing or an attitude adopted in confronting or dealing with a particular situation, one's emotional or intellectual position(Morris, 1969).

I believe the analyst's role contributes to meaningful therapeutic change in the patient.

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