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Simon, B. (1981). Confluence of Visual Image Between Patient and Analyst: Communication of Failed Communication. Psychoanal. Inq., 1(3):471-488.

(1981). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 1(3):471-488

Confluence of Visual Image Between Patient and Analyst: Communication of Failed Communication

Bennett Simon, M.D.

In the course of an analytic hour, early in the second year of analysis, a rather odd image came to my mind; a few minutes later, my patient was envisioning a strikingly similar image (though with some striking differences as well). Each image would have been worthy of comment in its own right, but the confluence of the two was indeed startling. In the course of further analysis and self-analysis, it became clear that this incident indicated a state of silent, deep empathic communication between my patient and myself. However, it also became clear that what we were communicating included statements of reproach, isolation and misunderstanding. In short, while being in close touch via this imagistic level of communication, we were also each caught up in autistic reverie — a meditation on loneliness.

First, I shall present an account of the session. Then I shall offer what I came to understand about this incident during the subsequent few weeks.

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