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Cartwright, D. (2004). The Psychoanalytic Research Interview: Preliminary Suggestions. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 52(1):209-242.

(2004). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 52(1):209-242

The Psychoanalytic Research Interview: Preliminary Suggestions

Duncan Cartwright

Psychoanalytically informed interview techniques and interview analysis can yield useful psychoanalytic insights about a particular research subject within the space of a few interviews. Basic hermeneutic principles, often used to understand the research interview, are not sufficient for understanding unconscious meaning and intrapsychic processes; they pay little attention to the particular theoretical and technical aspects of the interview needed to create the best conditions for understanding unconscious meaning. The portability of psychoanalytic concepts and their applicability outside the therapeutic setting are considered, after which four epistemological principles are outlined, derived mainly from the narrative tradition in psychoanalysis, that can inform interview technique and the analysis of the interview. Careful attention to feeling states, the search for core narratives, and the exploration of identifications and object relations are isolated as key analytic tasks in the interview analysis. A brief verbatim interview is used to illustrate this process, and methods are suggested to prevent the “wild analysis” of the interview encounter.

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