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Davis, J.T. (2015). Even More Than the “Something More”: Tronick’s Dyadic Expansion of Consciousness Model and the Expansion of Child Psychoanalytic Technique. Psychoanal. Inq., 35(4):430-444.

(2015). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 35(4):430-444

Even More Than the “Something More”: Tronick’s Dyadic Expansion of Consciousness Model and the Expansion of Child Psychoanalytic Technique

J. Timothy Davis, Ph.D.

Contemporary psychoanalysis considers itself to be a discipline fundamentally concerned with meaning and meaning-making processes. Ed Tronick’s research provides scientific support for the theoretical position that meaning making is a central process in psychological development and in mental health/illness. His work collaborating with psychoanalysts has made major contributions to the psychoanalytic literature on therapeutic action, with a special emphasis on the means by which implicit meanings are activated and modified in analytic treatment—the something more than interpretation. This article is about a different something more, the even more that psychoanalytic theory and technique can evolve through further incorporating Tronick’s important findings. Tronick’s Dyadic Expansion of Consciousness Model will be briefly reviewed—emphasizing his conceptualization of meanings as being composed of multiple commingling layers (biological, psychological, relational, and social) coming together in a nonlinear “messy” mixture of mutually influencing (both bottom-up and top-down) currents. This multilayered model of meaning opens up the reconsideration of an exciting array of technical options—traditionally considered nonanalytic—to be reunderstood as truly psychoanalytic in that they address one or more of the implicit or explicit levels of meaning that a patient makes of his or her self and world. Examples of these interventions include parent work, work with teachers and schools, as well as interventions adapted from other disciplines such as Occupational Therapy. These technical possibilities are illustrated using case material from the psychoanalytic treatment of a nine-year-old boy.

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