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Böhm, T. (2002). Reflections on psychoanalytic listening. Scand. Psychoanal. Rev., 25(1):20-26.

(2002). Scandinavian Psychoanalytic Review, 25(1):20-26

Reflections on psychoanalytic listening

Tomas Böhm, M.D.

What are the factors influencing analytic listening? This issue is discussed with reference to Schafer, Bollas and Hamilton and illustrated by a psychoanalytic session which can be listened to in different ways. The author refers to Hamilton's description of two main contradictions between (1) a total versus a relative view of transference and between (2) the uncovering of psychic truth versus interpretations as hypotheses. To this, the author adds one further contradiction between (3) analytic “appliers” versus analytic “explorers”. When analysts listen more to their inner maps and principles than to associations in the clinical material, they risk shutting off from new discoveries. It is suggested that different styles of handling clinical material really become like two different professions that need to be integrated if analysts want to become emancipated discoverers instead of guardians of their own maps.

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