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Parsons, M. (2009). An Independent Theory of Clinical Technique. Psychoanal. Dial., 19(3):221-236.

(2009). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 19(3):221-236

An Independent Theory of Clinical Technique

Michael Parsons, M.A. and M.R.C.Psych.

The history of Independent analysis in the British Psychoanalytical Society is reviewed. The Independent Tradition, as an approach to psychoanalysis, is distinguished from the organisational grouping in the British Society that is the Independent Group. The Independent Tradition emphasises what differentiates human beings rather than how they exemplify general principles. This derives from Freud through Ferenczi. Ferenczi's stress on the quality of the patient's experience, on the need for analysts to be aware of the effect on themselves of the analytic process, and on the need for restraint in interpretation are all characteristically Independent aspects of analytic technique. Later Independent thinkers have developed these themes further. Especially important is Enid Balint's idea that theory mediates the analyst's creative imagination. The analytic setting infuses ordinary human interaction with psychoanalytic awareness, and another function of theory is to imbue with psychoanalytic understanding the use of everyday language. Independent clinical technique is primarily a way of listening. Regression is accepted, and free association valued as being in itself a vehicle of psychic growth. A central idea is that the analyst is an analytic object to be made use of by the patient. Several clinical examples illustrate the functioning in practice of these concepts.

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