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Hedges, L.E. (2005). Listening Perspectives for Emotional: Relatedness Memories. Psychoanal. Inq., 25(4):455-483.

(2005). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 25(4):455-483

Listening Perspectives for Emotional: Relatedness Memories

Lawrence E. Hedges, Ph.D.

When considering memory, it is as important to relinquish the distinctions of Platonic triadism—cognition, emotion, and motivation—as it is to abandon Cartesian dualism. Calling on contemporary infant research and neuroscience, the author asserts there is no memory save emotional memory. The human mind as given to us to know can be seen as springing from early-learned patterns of emotional relatedness that are retained in the personality and expressed in later significant interpersonal relationships, including the therapeutic one.

Influenced by the current relational movement on psychotherapy theory and practice, six trends in modern psychoanalytic thinking constitute a paradigm shift in the direction of listening for emotional-relatedness memory patterns brought by both participants into the interpersonal field of psychotherapy and psychoanalysis. Four listening perspectives are suggested for systematically framing different types of relatedness possibility patterns as they emerge in the course of the therapeutic engagement. Of special interest is the earliest “organizing” relational experience that manifests in therapy as two participants move toward interpersonal connection, only to have one or the other break or rupture the developing intimacy. To illustrate how primal patterns of flight, fight, and flee emerge in the transference-countertransference matrix, clinical examples are given. This paper illustrates how the relational paradigm stands on new philosophical, epistemological, and interactional ground when relatedness perspectives are used for listening and responding to (i.e., for framing) various levels of relational complexity possibility.

Our memory is our coherence, our reason, our feeling, even our action. Without it we are nothing.

—Luis Buñuel

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