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Harrison, A.M. (2003). Change in Psychoanalysis: Getting from A to B. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 51(1):221-256.

(2003). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 51(1):221-256

Change in Psychoanalysis: Getting from A to B

Alexandra M. Harrison

The change that occurred during an analytic hour with a seven-year-old girl is explored by means of videotape observation and aspects of developmental theory drawn from the field of infant research. Detailed review of the videotape and transcript of twelve minutes of the analytic hour revealed significant change in the girl's attitude toward the loss represented by a cancelled session. The moment-to-moment process between two points, A and B—identified as representing the beginning and end of the change in the girl's ability to deal with loss in the analytic relationship—is studied and described in two forms: written transcript for the verbal material, and narrative description for the nonverbal material. The methodology is based on observed behaviors but also relies on the clinical experience of the analyst in the interpretation of affects and the recognition of intentions in both participants. The results suggest that, taken as a whole, many such small transitional episodes during the course of a treatment play an important role in the process of therapeutic change.

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