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Gehrie, M.J. (1993). Psychoanalytic Technique and the Development of the Capacity to Reflect. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 41:1083-1111.

(1993). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 41:1083-1111

Psychoanalytic Technique and the Development of the Capacity to Reflect

Mark J. Gehrie, Ph.D.


The capacity to reflect is an essential precondition for the existence and maintenance of an analytic process. This paper describes the technical environment that may enable the functional emergence and management of this precondition. In order that the specific features of such an environment may be addressed, psychoanalysis is differentiated from psychotherapy in terms of goals, and this is followed by a discussion of technical modalities that reflect uniquely analytic aims. In conjunction with these technical considerations, the underpinnings of the psychoanalytic situation are described as an "envelope of experience" within which the patient may develop the reflective capacity to participate in the analytic process. Finally, the acquisition of this essential reflective capacity is viewed in the context of a developmental line in an analysis, and is highlighted through the use of a clinical example.

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