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Waska, R. (2015). Emotional Communication: Countertransference Analysis and the Use of Feeling in Psychoanalytic Technique, by Paul Geltner, Routledge, New York, 2013, 336pp.. Am. J. Psychoanal., 75(3):345-348.

(2015). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 75(3):345-348

Emotional Communication: Countertransference Analysis and the Use of Feeling in Psychoanalytic Technique, by Paul Geltner, Routledge, New York, 2013, 336pp.

Review by:
Robert Waska, LPCC, MFT, Ph.D.

The counter-transference is a vital aspect of all therapeutic encounters so any book that explores this phenomenon is a welcome and potentially important contribution. In reading Emotional Communication: Countertransference Analysis and the Use of Feeling in Psychoanalytic Technique, I found it to be both impressive and disappointing. The author presents a scholarly set of theoretical constructs and provides complex and comprehensive reasoning to justify each subset of his new approach.

The author's terminology, dynamic formulations, and psychoanalytic thinking about the human condition builds new ground, presents intriguing theoretical ideas, and helps the reader think about how a patient may interact interpersonally and intrapsychically with the analyst. The author brings together a set of ideas about how patients are prone to induce various feelings in the analyst as a result of a universal process the author terms emotional communication. This is understood as a dynamic in all human interactions but this induction process can be highlighted in the treatment setting for therapeutic value.

Geltner defines cognitive communication to mean the channel of communication that uses symbolic elements of language; words to express commonly shared ideas or facts. Emotional communication is different in that it is a communication about feelings or emotional states conveyed through the non-symbolic vehicles of tone, facial expression, posture, and gesture. This in turns stimulates feelings in the receiver.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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