Field Theory, the “Talking Cure,” and Metaphoric Processes
by Ana-María Rizzuto, MD


The Barangers’ field theory considers the analytic situation as dialogical, bipersonal, and at the service of the interpretation of unconscious phantasies created in the field by the shared participation of patient and analyst. They asked about the power of words to offer meaningful interpretations and their potential to return to their earlier meanings in the patient’s life. Examining the richness of the spoken word as a medium for the expression of private experiences to another, I suggest that what counts in analytic work is the use of living words, linked to past and intra-analytic experiences. I suggest that in psychic life, the semantic meaning of words is embedded in their experiential and affective interpersonal meaning. The words act as the medium to link the private experience of the analysand to the private experience of the analyst without a direct intersubjective communication. I illustrate
my point with the example of the analyst’s warm words being savored as warm milk by a regressed analysand.


Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 33:3, 210-228, 2013

Link to Online Publication


Previous Posts

Phillip S. Freeman, MD (2012) The Resilience of Illusion. International Journal of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies (First Brief Communication, 9: 78-83; Second Brief Communication, 9: 344-349).

Paul Ornstein, MD (2012) The Novelist’s Craft: Reflections on The Brothers Karamazov. American Imago, 69/3, p. 295-316.

Stephanie R. Brody, PsyD (2013) Entering Night Country: Reflections on Self-Disclosure and Vulnerability. Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 23:1, p. 45-58.

Ellen Pinsky, PsyD (2012). PHYSIC HIMSELF MUST FADE: A View of the Therapeutic Offering through the Lens of Mortality. American Imago, Vol. 69, No. 1, 29-56.

All articles are available in the library.