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Hadda, J. (1991). The Ontogeny of Silence in an Analytic Case. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 72:117-130.

(1991). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 72:117-130

The Ontogeny of Silence in an Analytic Case

Janet Hadda


This paper concerns the uses of silence by an analytic patient, with particular emphasis on silence as a changing means of communication. The patient's initial use of silence was a way of indicating to me her original relationship with her mother; it also represented an unstated appeal that I grant her a measure of autonomy.

Later, silence signalled several stages along the way to the patient's full articulation of her longing to be welcomed, to be enthusiastically enjoyed by me. My role in these later manifestations of silence was that of aiding her in the articulation of hopes and wishes, stifled since early childhood because of an unfortunate series of abandonments and experiences of humiliation. The culmination of this articulation process was the patient's ability to vary a repetitive dream that she had had before the start of her analysis.

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