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Meissner, W.W. (2000). On Analytic Listening. Psychoanal Q., 69(2):317-367.

(2000). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 69(2):317-367

On Analytic Listening

W. W. Meissner, S.J., M.D.

Multiple dimensions of the listening process as implemented in the analytic process are discussed. Listening is not the same as hearing; it is done with the mind rather than just the ears. Listening seeks meaning, specifically the meaning in the mind of the patient. The meaning of words is often obscure, ambiguous, and uncertain, and their deeper implications can only be approached over time through uncovering associative linkages. Listening takes place in multiple perspectives—subjective/objective, active/passive, dynamic/genetic, etc. Listening is also contextually related to dimensions of the analytic relation, including transference, alliance, and real relation. Modalities of listening related to each are explored for both analyst and analysand, and aspects of listening empathically and listening to silence are discussed.

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