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Brown, L.J. (2016). The Analyst's Receptivity: Evolution of the Concept and its Clinical Application. Rivista Psicoanal., 62(1):27-47.

(2016). Rivista di Psicoanalisi, 62(1):27-47

The Analyst's Receptivity: Evolution of the Concept and its Clinical Application

Lawrence J. Brown, Ph.D.

[The analyst] should withhold all conscious influences to his capacity to attend and give himself over completely to his «unconscious memory»

(Freud, 1912, 112).

[Analysts must] trust ourselves to the unconscious… [and] allow ourselves to be surprised… [and] to surrender… without resistance to the guidance of the unconscious

(Reik, 1937, 328).

Presenter: «I have not prepared a case for presentations Bion: «It is just as well to get used to the fact that you are unprepared… We have to deal with all that we don't know».

(Bion, 1994, 158)

My aim in this paper is to trace the concept of the analyst's receptivity from its origins in Freud's theories, to its elaboration in the work of Theodor Reik and, finally, to Bion's contributions on this subject. My central argument is that what we call the analyst's receptivity is actually a misnomer because it does not exist in and of itself, but rather is part of a highly complex intersubjective network that is constantly operating unconsciously. I have chosen to focus on these three authors because of their seminal contributions regarding the unconscious aspects of the analyst's receptivity and the work of each represent a significant advance which paved the way for future elaborations.

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