The act of interpretation1

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Abstract

The author understands the interpreting act as an attempt to perceive what happens in the transference/countertransference field and not just what happens in the patient's mind. Interpretation transcends mere intellectual communication. It is also an experience in which analysts' emotions work as an important instrument in understanding their patients. Interpretation is seen to possess manifest as well as latent content; the latter would contain the analysts' feelings, emotions and personality. The unconscious content of an interpretation does not inconvenience or preclude the development of the analytic process, but, on the contrary, it allows new associative material to emerge, and it transforms the analytic session into a human relationship. Analysts' awareness of this content derived from patients' apperceptions is a significant instrument for understanding what is happening in the analytic relationship, and what transpires in these sessions provides fundamental elements for analysts' self-analysis. Some clinical examples demonstrate these occurrences in analytic sessions, and how they can be apprehended and used for a better understanding of the patient. The author also mentions the occurrence of difficulties during the analytic process. These difficulties are often the result of lapses in an analyst's perception related to unconscious elements of the relationship.

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