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Parsons, M. (2009). Reply to Commentaries. Psychoanal. Dial., 19(3):259-266.

(2009). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 19(3):259-266

Reply to Commentaries

Michael Parsons, M.A. and M.R.C.Psych.

Questions of historical context resonate with an Independent view of the importance of history. The historical backgrounds of North American and British psychoanalysis are relevant. Some American analysts may be seen as belonging to the Independent tradition, and the relation between Independent analysis in Britain and Relational analysis in America needs further consideration. I ask how far Relational analysis is taking on an institutional identity, and link this to Poland's discussion of “outsiderness.” Responding to Bass's and Berman's comments on my clinical examples I discuss why I sometimes do think analysts need to ascribe meaning to a patient's material. In other instances an analyst will invite the patient more into the process by which meaning evolves between them. To move freely between these positions is central to my view of clinical technique. I express doubts about analysts asking patients for their emotional reaction to an analyst's interventions. This risks being intrusive, and may tend to keep the exchange at the conscious level of a patient's mind. The analytic relationship is an interpersonal one between real people, but the analyst needs also to remain symbolically available as an object of unconscious fantasy and projection.

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