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Crick, P. (2014). Selecting a Patient or Initiating a Psychoanalytic Process?. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 95(3):465-484.

(2014). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 95(3):465-484

Selecting a Patient or Initiating a Psychoanalytic Process? Language Translation

Penny Crick

(Accepted for publication 27 August 2013)

The defences provoked in the analyst by the anxieties associated with the difficult tasks of ‘assessment’ and ‘selection’ for psychoanalysis can result in a tendency to think in terms of ‘hurdles to be cleared’ by potential psychoanalytic patients, rather than ‘opening the gates’. This can result in a diminution of the analyst's capacity to enlist and sustain a psychoanalytic stance. Only within a psychoanalytic frame can a meaningful psychoanalytic process unfold, at all stages of a potential patient's movement from their first contact through to, possibly, entering into an analysis. The author illustrates the value of this thinking by describing the work of the London Clinic of Psychoanalysis where there has been a shift of emphasis in psychoanalytic consultation towards working with individuals on their potential to initiate a psychoanalytic process, and away from the sole aim of ‘selection of a suitable patient’. In this paper, the author notes that when institutional culture and practice supports psychoanalytic identity, this makes it more possible to recognize and articulate the anxieties provoked by the ‘emotional storm’ inevitable in psychoanalytic consultation, and the draw towards unhelpful enactment that may otherwise obscure the initiation of a psychoanalytic process that may or may not result in analytic treatment. Illustrative case material from the Clinic is presented.

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