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Jelliffe, S.E. (1915). Technique of Psychoanalysis. Psychoanal. Rev., 2(1):73-80.

(1915). Psychoanalytic Review, 2(1):73-80

Technique of Psychoanalysis

Smith Ely Jelliffe

(Continued from Vol. I, page 444)

The best preparation is a self analysis. This is difficult to obtain since so few physicians are willing to give up the time to acquire a technique. Continual self analysis is requisite during the course of analytic work. The analysis of a resistance always shows psychoanalytic scotomata on the part of the analyst. It is through the resolving of these unconscious blindspots of his own that the analyst is able to free his patient. The would-be analyst should work resolutely with his own dreams, if possible with the aid of some one versed in psychoanalysis. A few passing remarks on a corner or at a chance meeting are worse than useless. Self analysis is the ideal preparation.

The Beginnings

The first meeting with the patient is of great importance. One should observe every little sign, for many neurotics have “suffered much of many physicians” and are usually supersensitive and highly critical. Little occurrences should be carefully noted, sudden reddening, twitching of the fingers, tapping of the hand or foot, restlessness, looking about, gestures, dryness of the mouth, changes in expression, variations in pupils, perseverations, repetitions, circumstantiality in narration, apparently irrelevant and quick jumps from one subject to another, gaps, mispronunciations, retardations, and slowness in places. Note carefully, but avoid mentioning, small contradictions, also observe over-scrupulousness in details, attempts to be very precise and exact and all small things. They are of importance in psychoanalysis. Adler and Freud were the first to call attention to the fact that at times the very first sentence uttered by the patient contains the clue to their whole general situation.

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