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McLaughlin, J.T. (1996). Power, Authority, And Influence In The Analytic Dyad. Alfred North Whitehead (, p. 105). Psychoanal Q., 65:201-235.

(1996). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 65:201-235

Power, Authority, And Influence In The Analytic Dyad. Alfred North Whitehead (1949, p. 105)

James T. McLaughlin, M.D.

Intercourse between individuals and between social groups takes one of two forms: force or persuasion.

Psychoanalysis has struggled with issues of power and influence in the analytic relationship since Freud first attempted to separate his new science from its beginnings in hypnotic suggestion. That he was unsuccessful then in disclaiming power and influence, and we since then as well, has been our collective rue and challenge to this day.

First seeking to deny the existence of the analyst's influence, then attempting to eliminate it, we have only gradually come to acknowledge and cope with its being an inescapable component of the interplay of the dynamics of power between the analytic pair.

I first make some observations regarding certain dynamic, and perhaps inherent factors upon which this relational inevitability is based. I then offer reasons and clinical data to support my technical preferences for working analytically within the quiet band of asserted influence. I will try to show how this mode of working serves to sharpen our awareness of our proclivities toward undue assertion of power, to provide a safeguard against our excesses, and to enhance the place and power of the patient in the accomplishing of mutative analytic work.


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