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Quinodoz, J. (1996). The Sense Of Solitude In The Psychoanalytic Encounter. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 77:481-496.

(1996). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 77:481-496

The Sense Of Solitude In The Psychoanalytic Encounter

Jean-Michel Quinodoz

The author emphasises the importance of the sense of solitude for the integration of psychic life in both analysand and analyst. This complex affect is stated to accompany different levels of anxiety that can be worked through in the transference. While the normal sense of solitude is a manifestation of relative maturity, the author shows that it is not readily tolerated by some analysands when, in the form of a painful sense of loneliness, it signals the approach of the depressive position and of psychic integration. A discussion of the concept in the work of Freud, Klein and Winnicott is followed by a clinical sequence showing how a female patient uses projective identification to transfer intolerable transference separation feelings on to the analyst, who then experiences them as his own. When the analyst succeeds in distinguishing between the pathological aspect (depression) and the healthy side (psychic pain due to the prospect of integration) of these affects, he is able to interpret. The author draws attention to the dangers of acting out by both partners in the analysis if this is not possible. The author deems it important for the psychoanalyst to have acquired a well-developed sense of solitude and insists that particular consideration be devoted to its presence in prospective candidates for psychoanalytic training.

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