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Hooberman, R.E. (2008). Roles of Engagement: Commentary on Paper by Richard Almond. Psychoanal. Dial., 18(1):95-103.

(2008). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 18(1):95-103

Roles of Engagement: Commentary on Paper by Richard Almond Related Papers

Robert E. Hooberman, Ph.D.

Richard Almond's discussion on the benefits of attending to the tension between what he refers to as analyst role and nonrole behaviors is quite stimulating and highlights important issues within the world of psychoanalysis. Although appreciating Almond's efforts to add clarity and perspective to the discourse on relational analytic activity, I point out the ways in which dichotomizing the analytic endeavor into “role” and “nonrole” behaviors can be limiting. It is proposed that prioritizing the tension between these polarities as mutative does not encourage the “spaces” between these role and nonrole behaviors to be maximally used, minimizes the interactive component, and privileges observing over experiencing. It is also contended that an affectively alive analyst, including one in the midst of enactments is acting within role. A clinical example is used to demonstrate that neither interpretation nor interaction should be privileged in terms of therapeutic action.

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