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Spence, D.P. Mayes, L.C. Dahl, H. (1994). Monitoring the Analytic Surface. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 42:43-64.

(1994). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 42:43-64

Monitoring the Analytic Surface

Donald P. Spence, Ph.D., Linda C. Mayes, M.D. and Hartvig Dahl, M.D.


How do we listen during an analytic hour? Systematic analysis of the speech patterns of one patient (Mrs. C.) strongly suggests that the clustering of shared pronouns (e.g., you/me) represents an important aspect of the analytic surface, preconsciously sensed by the analyst and used by him to determine when to intervene. Sensitivity to these patterns increases over the course of treatment, and in a final block of 10 hours shows a striking degree of contingent responsivity: specific utterances by the patient are consistently echoed by the analyst's interventions.

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