This book is the first comprehensive treatment in recent decades of silence and silencing in psychoanalysis from clinical and research perspectives, as well as in philosophy, theology, linguistics, and musicology.

The book approaches silence and silencing on three levels. First, it provides context for psychoanalytic approaches to silence through chapters about silence in phenomenology, theology, linguistics, musicology, and contemporary Western society. Its central part is devoted to the position of silence in psychoanalysis: its types and possible meanings (a form of resistance, in countertransference, the foundation for listening and further growth), based on both the work of the pioneers of psychoanalysis and on clinical case presentations. Finally, the book includes reports of conversation analytic research of silence in psychotherapeutic sessions and everyday communication. Not only are original techniques reported here for the first time, but research and clinical approaches fit together in significant ways.

This book will be of interest to all psychologists, psychoanalysts, and social scientists, as well as applied researchers, program designers and evaluators, educators, leaders, and students. It will also provide valuable insight to anyone interested in the social practices of silence and silencing, and the roles these play in everyday social interactions.

part I|98 pages


part I|96 pages

Introduction to Part I

chapter Chapter 1|19 pages

Silence in phenomenology

Dream or nightmare?
ByDonna Orange

chapter Chapter 2|15 pages

Encountering religious and spiritual silences

ByColum Kenny

chapter Chapter 3|21 pages

Forms and functions of silence and silencing

An approach from linguistics and conversation analysis with reference to psychotherapy
BySilvia Bonacchi

chapter Chapter 4|25 pages

The many forms of silence in music

ByHelga de la Motte-Haber

chapter Chapter 5|12 pages

Silence in an age of distraction

ByPatrick Shen

part II|118 pages


part II|116 pages

Introduction to Part II

chapter Chapter 7|14 pages

Varieties of silence in the analytic setting

BySalman Akhtar

chapter Chapter 8|15 pages

Silence as a manifestation of resistance

ByAleksandar Dimitrijević

chapter Chapter 9|14 pages

Silence is golden (usually)

ByJay Frankel

chapter Chapter 10|16 pages

Winnicott’s capacity for silence in understanding and healing human nature

ByMargaret Boyle Spelman

chapter Chapter 11|11 pages

Silence as a condition for analytic listening

Site, situation and process
ByHoward B. Levine

chapter Chapter 12|19 pages

Silence and silencing of the traumatized

ByAleksandar Dimitrijević

part III|154 pages


part III|152 pages

Introduction to Part III

chapter Chapter 13|18 pages

Measuring silence

The pausing inventory categorization system and a review of findings
ByHeidi M. Levitt, Zenobia Morrill

chapter Chapter 14|24 pages

Pauses are conversations

What they tell us when we listen
ByMichael B. Buchholz

chapter Chapter 15|32 pages

How to move on after silences

Addressing thought processes to restart conversation
ByFlorian Dreyer, Michael M. Franzen

chapter Chapter 16|26 pages

The interaction order of silent moments in everyday life

Lapses as joint embodied achievements 1
ByAnna Vatanen

chapter Chapter 17|38 pages

Speaking that silences

A single case multi-method analysis of a couple’s interview
ByMichael B. Buchholz, Oliver Ehmer, Christopher Mahlstedt, Stefan Pfänder, Elke Schumann