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Knoblauch, S.H. (2019). Therapists’ Subjective Experience during Improvisational Moments in the Clinical Encounter-Discussion of I’mprovisation. Psychoanal. Dial., 29(3):306-310.

(2019). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 29(3):306-310

Therapists’ Subjective Experience during Improvisational Moments in the Clinical Encounter-Discussion of I’mprovisation

Steven H. Knoblauch, Ph.D.

With this discussion, I reflect on the limitations of this pilot qualitative research. These include how categories of observation are established and the generalizability of the reported results beyond the small sample of subjects studied. Additionally, the metaphor of theater used by the investigators for understanding improvisation is compared and contrasted with the metaphor of jazz improvisation. Jazz improvisation as a metaphor works well with the quantitative data coming from infant/caregiver video studies. These studies represent a more micro focus on embodied registrations of the emotional/behavioral interactive process and account for data which might be otherwise unconsciously overlooked or dissociated with a strategy valorizing I’mprovisation. I then visit the question of whether improvisation should be held as an ideal versus an ideal of continuous practice and vigilance for how theoretical biases, personal credos and habits of activity can become unreflective traps blocking spontaneous emergent possibilities for clinically relevant movement and growth.

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