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Kramer, P. (1961). Discussion of Dr. Anthony's Paper. Psychoanal. St. Child, 16:246-250.

(1961). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 16:246-250

Discussion of Dr. Anthony's Paper

Paul Kramer, M.D.

Dr. Anthony's absorbing and instructive essay contains much interesting material meriting discussion. Time permits me to select only a few points for comment. Not the least of its virtues is to have demonstrated in a remarkably illuminating, lucidly presented clinical report, the importance of the analyst's concern with the sensations of his patient, his sensory awareness in as wide a context as possible. It is true that the subject has been comparatively neglected by the analytic literature, though perhaps not quite as much by analytic practitioners. I was first introduced to this topic almost thirty years ago by August Aichhorn. When the patient's mind was a blank, Aichhorn sometimes suggested to the analysand that he refrain from searching for free associations but instead observe his own bodily reactions, his sensations, and watch them with free-floating attention, observe their changes in character, location, and intensity, and report on his observation at a time of his own choice. This technical device sometimes had surprising results of circumventing resistances, and leading, through an awareness of bodily attitudes and sensations, to deeply repressed material. Concern with sensory experiences is important and fruitful, not only in work with near-psychotic cases like Dr. Anthony's patient Lily, but in the analyst's everyday work with the average neurotic patient as well. On the whole, the analyst will find himself more familiar with "incomplete" screen sensations in which joy is the least constant component. Instead, it is anxiety rather than joy that our patients perceive when they let go of their defenses, and are about to submerge into the realm of passively experienced sensations. Whether or not screen sensations appear within the analytic situation is in part a function of the analytic atmosphere, of the readiness with which the analyst accepts and encourages their emergence.

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