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Cooper, P.C. (2008). Being the Moment. Psychoanal. Rev., 95(2):285-303.

(2008). Psychoanalytic Review, 95(2):285-303

Being the Moment

Paul C. Cooper, M.S., LP, NCPsyA

Nodal Points

Buddhism and psychoanalysis, despite many diverging assumptions, both share an experiential basis. The primary experiential nexus entails some form of attention and the techniques for enhancing the practitioner's capacity for more intensive and sustained attention that is divested of the practitioner's ego.

Previously, I have discussed issues related to the psychoanalyst's capacity for processing attentional states (Cooper, 2003). Specifically, I noted that a failure in the analyst's capacity to maintain an effective degree of attention is not simply related to inadequate technical training that may or may not be available to psychoanalytic candidates, as some writers have suggested (Epstein, 1984, 1988; Rubin, 1985; Speeth, 1982). While technical attention training can be beneficial, when considered psycho-analytically, the relationship between attention and inattention is complex and can be closely linked to the practitioner's unconscious resistances. Such difficulties with attention become a matter of personal training analysis and individual supervision that every psychoanalytic candidate is required to undergo. Additionally I provided clinical evidence to support my argument that from a psychoanalytic perspective, fluctuations between attention and inattention, when attended to closely in the analytic situation, can reveal links to early object relational dyads and various emotional states that emerge in the transference and countertransference dynamic.


This paper is an expanded version of an article first read for “Psychoanalysis and Spirituality,” panel presentations and discussion with Michael Eigen and Beverly Schneider held at NPAP on Sunday, November 14, 2004.

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