Notes on interpretation
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The act of interpretation cannot be separated from the containment process. Although it is often implied that the therapist 'silently' contains the patient's projections until they can be 'given back' in the form of a brilliant incisive interpretation, this is not my clinical experience. There are a number of problems with this assumption. It depicts a model that implies that projections are somehow held at bay or 'removed', processed, and then returned in a more tolerable form via interpretation. Although a 'neat' model, it does not reflect the clinical complexities involved in the process of 'containing' and interpretation. I hope to have shown that the containing function involves tolerating a number of internal tensions constantly being communicated in a bi-directional analytic field where meaning is coconstructed. From this position overly formulated interpretations are understood to come from an isolated mind, not the moment-to-moment interaction between two minds. In keeping with the idea that the analyst's containing function is part of an ongoing dialogical and reciprocal process, containing is constantly being communicated verbally and non-verbally. The need to act from within affective links between patient and therapist also implies that interpretations need to convey containing qualities. As Lafarge puts it:
Interpretation always rests in part on containment, for in good analytic work the analyst is informed by his affective responses to his patient's
non-verbal communications as well as verbal associations. Interpretation is also an act of containment.