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Aron, L. (1992). Interpretation as Expression of the Analyst's Subjectivity. Psychoanal. Dial., 2(4):475-507.

(1992). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 2(4):475-507

Interpretation as Expression of the Analyst's Subjectivity

Lewis Aron, Ph.D.

This paper elaborates a “relational-perspectivist” view of interpretation as a complex intersubjective process that develops conjointly between patient and analyst. Interpretation is the principal process by which analysts position and reposition themselves interpersonally in relation to their patients, and in this sense interpretations contain aspects of the analyst's subjectivity that are made available for use by the patient. Inasmuch as the analyst has captured aspects of the patient's psychic life in a particular interpretation and insofar as the interpretation also expresses aspects of the analyst's subjectivity, interpretation is best thought of as the quintessential container and purveyor of intersubjectivity between patient and analyst.

The paper defines two dimensions of the analytic process, symmetry-asymmetry, referring to the similarity or dissimilarity of the patient's and analyst's roles and functions in the analytic process, and mutuality-lack of mutuality, referring to how reciprocal the interaction and the experience of the interaction are. These two dimensions are used to examine the nature of the psychoanalytic process. Clinical illustrations are provided as points of departure for discussion.

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