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Freedman, N. (1983). On Psychoanalytic Listening: The Construction, Paralysis, and Reconstruction of Meaning. Psychoanal. Contemp. Thought, 6(3):405-434.

(1983). Psychoanalysis and Contemporary Thought, 6(3):405-434

On Psychoanalytic Listening: The Construction, Paralysis, and Reconstruction of Meaning

Norbert Freedman, Ph.D.

This paper is dedicated to the “Impossible Profession”—impossible not because of Janet Malcolm's or Aaron Green's dilemma, or because of the pessimism voiced by Freud (1937) in “Analysis: Terminable or Interminable,” for that is where the phrase originated, but because of the impossible listening process.

Listening hour by hour confronts us all with a difficult situation. We are embedded in an atmosphere of reduced motility, exposed to the regressive imagery of our patients, and, yet, we are committed to limit our discharge to only highly synthetic functions of the ego. This situation, as McLaughlin (1975) pointed out in his paper on the sleepy analyst, is one of considerable vulnerability.

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