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Beebe, B. (2004). Reply to Commentaries. Psychoanal. Dial., 14(1):89-98.

(2004). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 14(1):89-98

Reply to Commentaries Related Papers

Beatrice Beebe, Ph.D.

I am grateful to carolyn clement for inviting this series of papers, and to Psychoanalytic Dialogues for the opportunity to publish this series. I want to thank all of the discussants for their willingness to comment on the treatment of Dolores. I will comment on each discussant in turn.

Michael Heller

Michael Heller's (2001) work on the role of the “body” in psychotherapy is relatively unknown among psychoanalysts in the United States. Yet he has an important role to play because he has been doing microanalytic coding of adult psychotherapy sessions for over two decades. I was first introduced to his work in his paper, “A Doctor's Face: Mirror of his Patient's Suicidal Projects” (Heller and Haynal, 1997) described in Paper I. I am grateful for his close reading of the paper.

Heller understands and has elaborated my fundamental message: Dolores had to do more than “restructure her ideas,” change her representations or fantasies or even her relationship with me. She had to reconstruct her entire “bodily communicative behavior.” And to do so took tremendous “inner creativity and courage.” One of the ways that she did this was to work on viewing the videotapes in the early years of the treatment.

Heller gives his own scheme of coding nonverbal communication in terms unfamiliar to psychoanalysts. Yet his scheme draws our attention to aspects of communication that we usually do not pay specific attention to. He notes that, if gaze is totally on or off, it can no longer function as a “surface posture” of the fine-motor activities that communicate moment-by-moment to the partner. Instead it becomes an aspect of the relatively unvarying “basic posture.”


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