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Stern, D.B. (2009). Partners in Thought: A Clinical Process Theory of Narrative. Psychoanal Q., 78(3):701-731.

(2009). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 78(3):701-731

Partners in Thought: A Clinical Process Theory of Narrative

Donnel B. Stern

Even in the absence of others, we learn about ourselves by imaginatively listening to our own thoughts through the ears of the other. At the beginning of life, we need a witness to become a self. Later, patients listen to themselves as they imagine their analysts hear them, and in this way create new narrative freedom. The resolution of enactments is crucial in psychoanalytic treatment, not only because it expands the boundaries of the self, but also because it reinstitutes and broadens the range within which patient and analyst can witness one another's experience. Narrative is not the outcome of the analyst's objective interpretations, but an emergent, co-constructed, unbidden outcome of clinical process.

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