chapter  3
12 Pages

Attaching

People in search of therapy are in varying states of unhappiness, conflict, trouble, mental pain and psychological illness. Psychoanalytic therapy’s unique contribution is that it offers a locus where distress is both re-experienced and examined. Clients’ descriptions of their difficulties ‘entail’ the experience being described. Encountering a therapist is in itself anxiety-arousing: how that anxiety is managed, defended against, succumbed to or circumvented tells the patient’s story for him. The problematic lineaments of the therapeutic relationship make manifest the very difficulties with which the client needs help. The skill of the therapist lies in being able to engage in such a relationship, while simultaneously observing and helping the client learn from those observations. In this chapter I enumerate the component parts of the therapeutic relationship.