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Flores, J. (2007). Social Conflict and Subjectivity: The Analyst's Involvement. Int. Forum Psychoanal., 16(4):254-258.

(2007). International Forum of Psychoanalysis, 16(4):254-258

Social Conflict and Subjectivity: The Analyst's Involvement

Juan Flores

Traditionally, psychoanalysts have operated only with intrapsychic determinants of the therapeutic relationship, whether in the transference-countertransference realm or, more recently, in the so-called intersubjective realm. The latter refers to the ways in which analysts’ personal characteristics play a role in their relationship with their patients and in the analytic process. Despite such ascertainments, analysts have not paid enough attention to or gone deeper into that aspect of the analytic situation that inadvertently defines its evolution and even creates the conditions for its occurrence—analytic listening. Analytic listening is traversed by the institutions that constitute psychoanalysts as subjects and professionals. These are, among others, the family, religious institutions, customs, habits, social class, recreational and community organizations, and undoubtedly the institution where analysts train and of which they are members. In other words, the listening apparatus is not neutral; rather, it operates with manifold screening devices—the institutions that constitute it. The ability to ponder the relationship between psychic and social realities necessarily refers us to the connotations of the analysts’ social position and the relationships they establish with their patients, and therefore to the ways in which the social context affects the development of the analysis. Once again, when speaking of the analysts’ social position, we cannot confine our thinking to the obvious influence of the cultural environment. We must also consider how analysts are interwoven with their practice within a social structure that assigns them a place from where to listen. We may then ask whether there is a binding relationship between the unconscious we observe and the social formations that institute it, in other words whether there are social conditions that lead to the production of a certain psychic material on the basis of the features of the setting and the analyst's role. Furthermore, we can ask whether these conditions may favor the veiled staging in the analyst's office of the social conflict, in which neither analyst nor patient occupies a neutral position.

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