ABSTRACT

Interpretation too may have disruptive, wrenching effects, disturbing a train of thought, a whole way of seeing one’s relations to others, or a particular take on why one has done things the way one has in one’s life. Analysands sometimes experience even what seems to be the most well-prepared-for interpretation as a punch in the gut, as having a visceral effect on them. Analysts are usually taught to avoid wild interpretation-the kind of instant interpretations certain psychotherapists and psychiatrists are apt to make after speaking with a patient for a mere 15 minutes. However, I have talked with enough people to know that certain “analysts” too go in for instant, wild interpretations, with little attention to their possible consequences. In theory, interpretations that are likely to be disruptive should only be proffered once trust between analyst and analysand has been established, so that the impact of the interpretation can be worked through. The theory also instructs us to mitigate whatever violence there may be in an interpretation by preparing the ground for it, not making it until the analysand is on the verge of making it him-or herself, being but one short step from it. And the theory instructs us to simply let the analysand do the interpreting, when possible. Nevertheless, many clinicians ignore these elementary principles.