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Mitrani, J.L. (1997). Analytic Listening, Transference Interpretation, and the Emergence of Infantile Dependency: Do we Really Need to “Educate” Patients About Analysis. J. Amer. Acad. Psychoanal., 25(1):1-14.

(1997). Journal of American Academy of Psychoanalysis, 25(1):1-14

Analytic Listening, Transference Interpretation, and the Emergence of Infantile Dependency: Do we Really Need to “Educate” Patients About Analysis

Judith L. Mitrani, Ph.D*

Ultimately, a science stands or falls in proportion as it is a valid technique for discovery, and not by virtue of the “knowledge” gained. This last is always subject to supersession; indeed, supersession of findings by new findings is the criterion by which vitality of the subject is judged.

—Wilfred Bion, Cogitations


During the course of analytic practice, treating patients and supervising therapists, I have found that — as a rule rather than an exception — the majority of today's patients come seeking psychotherapy on a once-or perhaps twice-weekly basis, whether or not they are aware that they have been referred to a “psychoanalyst.” Today, few prospective patients know anything about psychoanalysis, let alone that it is traditionally conducted four or five times per week, with the patient reclining on a couch, and the analyst seated out of sight behind the patient. In light of this situation some have suggested that we need to educate patients about psychoanalysis to get them to go along with the program. In fact, in certain circles, and some institutes, this is a recommended


* Full member, International Psycho-Analytical Association, Senior Faculty, Psychoanalytic Center of California, and Guest Faculty, Southern California Psychoanalytic Institute and the Los Angeles Institute and Society for Psychoanalytic Studies.

An earlier version of this paper was presented at the 40th Winter Meetings of the American Academy of Psychoanalysis in Phoenix, Arizona on December 6, 1996.

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