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Peterfreund, E. (1975). How Does the Analyst Listen? On Models and Strategies in the Psychoanalytic Process. Psychoanal. Contemp. Sci., 4(1):59-101.

(1975). Psychoanalysis and Contemporary Science, 4(1):59-101

How Does the Analyst Listen? On Models and Strategies in the Psychoanalytic Process

Emanuel Peterfreund, M.D.


In a recent publication Luborsky and Spence (1971) write: Psychoanalysts, like other psychotherapists, literally do not know how they achieve their results, although they have searched longer and deeper than others, and possess a unique store of clinical wisdom. They have learned their craft from a long line of practitioners schooled in a master-apprentice relationship; the rules are taught more by example than by explanation. Much work must be done in a naturalistic way to understand what makes a good therapist good? (p. 432).

This paper has two main aims. It is first a contribution to a naturalistic approach to the analytic process; it examines the thinking process of the analyst during relatively good hours. Second, it attempts to demonstrate the usefulness of conceptualizing the analytic process in terms of working models and strategies.

This paper supplements an earlier approach to the psychoanalytic process (Peterfreund, 1971, Chapter 22). Many of the examples in that earlier work could have been used to illustrate the ideas presented in this paper. It also continues the abandonment of current psychoanalytic metapsychology (Peterfreund, 1971, 1975; Peterfreund and Franceschini, 1973) and attempts to illustrate the further usefulness of an information-processing and systems frame of reference.

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