The Analyst's Share in the Psychoanalytic Process
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The Analyst's Share in the Psychoanalytic Process book
In his more specific observations the analyst learns, first, from what the patient tells him about his experiences, past and present, his relationships with himself and others, his plans, his wishes, his fears, his thoughts. Second, he learns from observing the patient's behavior in his office, for each patient reacts differently to arrangements concerning fees, time, lying down, and other objective aspects of analysis. And each patient reacts differently to the fact that he is being analyzed. One patient regards analysis as an interesting intellectual process but refutes the idea that he really needs it; another treats it as a humiliating secret; while a third is proud of it as a special privilege. Moreover, patients exhibit an endless variety of attitudes toward the analyst himself, with as many individual shades as exist otherwise in human relationships. Finally, patients show innumerable subtle and gross vacillations in their reactions, and these vacillations themselves are revealing. These two sources of information-the patient's communications about him-
Like any other observation, that of the analyst is tinged by the nature of his interest. A saleswoman will heed other qualities in a customer than a social worker will in a client applying for help. An employer interviewing a prospective employee will focus on questions of initiative, adaptability, reliability, while a minister talking to a parishioner will be more interested in questions of moral behavior and religious belief. The analyst's interest does not focus upon one part of the patient, not even upon the disturbed part, but necessarily embraces the whole personality. Since he wants to understand its entire structure, and since he does not know offhand what may be more relevant and what less, his attention must absorb as many factors as possible.