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Brenneis, C.B. (1994). Observations on Psychoanalytic Listening. Psychoanal Q., 63:29-53.

(1994). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 63:29-53

Observations on Psychoanalytic Listening

C. Brooks Brenneis, Ph.D.


Psychoanalysis has long presented ideal listening as an oscillation between Freud's "evenly suspended attention" and a more focused attention. This paper explores modes of listening as they are manifest in the author's clinical experience. Two modes are evident: a receptivity, mostly out of awareness, which becomes shaped and primed toward specific expectations; and a concurrent, more conscious and directed mode of listening through specific filters. The former is described as "listening alertly from a distance" and the latter as "listening for implications."

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