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Rees, E. (2003). Reply to Panel Follow-up Questions. Psychoanal. Dial., 13(3):437-441.

(2003). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 13(3):437-441

Reply to Panel Follow-up Questions Related Papers

Ellen Rees, M.D.

Question #1

A TWO-PERSON PERSPECTIVE ON THE CLINICAL PSYCHOANALYTIC SITUATION raises crucial questions about how to conceptualize the impact of the analyst and analysand on one another. In the psychoanalytic situation, our focus is on the ways that each shapes the analytic process that emerges in their interaction. When exploring and researching the nature of this mutual impact, I believe it is important that we not dichotomize physical reality and psychic reality. One of the most challenging opportunities that we have before us is to study how psychic reality is influenced by “reality,” how the inner world is shaped by the outer. Many of us are accustomed to trying to understand how psychic reality shapes perceived experience.

For me, at the heart of the question is the complex and difficult task of trying to understand how experiences with another interact with and shape fantasy and affect early memories. How to make good analytic use of the awareness that the analyst's personality or technique may contribute significantly to the nature of the transference, and probably to the nature of the therapeutic action, becomes clearer as we learn. Although many people have been thinking and writing about this question for some time, I think we will be studying, and—I hope—researching, aspects of it for years to come.

In training future psychoanalysts, we might begin by introducing candidates to the questions we are asking and to the state of our current knowledge. We could then familiarize them with the methods we have available to address those questions. I believe it is important that we help candidates appreciate the theoretical, clinical, and epistemological implications of asking such questions as how the character of the analyst influences the emerging transference. If candidates understand the complexity and the dimensions of this, or any, question that we put before them, they will be in a good position to become our collaborators in learning.

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