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Ogden, T.H. (1994). The Concept of Interpretive Action. Psychoanal Q., 63:219-245.

(1994). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 63:219-245

The Concept of Interpretive Action

Thomas H. Ogden, M.D.


Interpretive action is understood as the analyst's use of action (other than verbally symbolic speech) to convey to the analysand specific aspects of the analyst's understanding of the transference-countertransference which cannot at that juncture in the analysis be conveyed by the semantic content of words alone. An interpretation-in-action accrues its specific symbolic meaning from the experiential context of the analytic intersubjectivity in which it is generated. The understanding of the transference-countertransference conveyed by the analyst's interpretive action must simultaneously be silently formulated in words by the analyst. Three clinical vignettes are presented which illustrate different forms of interpretation-in-action.

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