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Rachman, A.W. Mattick, P. (2012). The Confusion of Tongues in the Psychoanalytic Relationship. Psychoanal. Soc. Work, 19(1):167-190.

(2012). Psychoanalytic Social Work, 19(1):167-190

The Confusion of Tongues in the Psychoanalytic Relationship

Arnold Wm. Rachman and Paul Mattick

Sándor Ferenczi's Confusion of Tongues paradigm, first introduced to explain the psychological effects of childhood sexual trauma on personality development, also presented a blueprint for a relational view vide of the analytic encounter. We have extrapolated Ferenczi's two-person psychology in his Confusion of Tongues paradigm to discuss the “necessary and sufficient conditions” for an analytic encounter, which can present retraumatization in the psychoanalytic situation. This relational approach monitors the functioning of the analyst as well as the analysand by establishing several important conditions: (1) It is the analyst who provides a different kind of relationship for the analysand to experience; (2) the nature of the relationship is paramount for changes; (3) all transactions in the analytic encounter are functions of the two parties; (4) the analyst must regularly analyze his or her contribution to the relationship; (5) “judicious self-disclosure” is used to differentiate between the traumatic parent image and the empathic analyst; (6) emotional honesty, responsiveness and empathic understanding contribute to resolving the Confusion of Tongues emotional trauma with the parent; and (7) the analyst learns to speak and relate in a “trauma-free” (nonerotic, nonrejecting, etc.) manner.

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