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Frankel, J. (2003). Our Relationship to Analytic Ideals: Commentary on Papers by Joyce Slochower and Sue Grand. Psychoanal. Dial., 13(4):513-520.

(2003). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 13(4):513-520

Our Relationship to Analytic Ideals: Commentary on Papers by Joyce Slochower and Sue Grand Related Papers

Jay Frankel, Ph.D.

It is important for every treatment that we analysts feel some room for our own subjectivity and some recognition of this from our patients. But we may feel that our analytic ideals—part of what may be called our “preexisting analytic third”: our analytic inheritance—require that we expunge our subjectivity from view. A submissive attitude toward the preexisting third may result in our committing misdemeanors in an attempt to salvage some feeling of psychic existence in a treatment where we feel negated.

We can also think of a different kind of analytic third—an “emergent third”—that is mutually created by the analytic couple. This kind of third can be a platform from which to develop a necessary active, independent, and critical stance toward that which we inherit. The emergent third can find expression through the play structures that may come to shape the analytic relationship.

Misdemeanors, therefore, may reflect analysts' inevitably taking on certain roles in the unconscious, restitutive, and often sadomasochistic, scenarios that patients may play out in their analyses. The possible therapeutic value of playing out these scenarios—a possibility suggested by Grand's case material—tends to undermine a clear distinction between freely surrendering to a creative analytic process, and submitting in a self-negating, though potentially helpful, way.

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