The Things We Carry: Finding/Creating the Object and the Analyst’s Self-Reflective Participation

Steven H. Cooper, PhD


I reflect on the interaction between the analyst’s dedicated attention to the patient’s internal object relations and the analyst’s self-reflective participation. Our stops and starts of attention to the patient’s internal objects and our own is in some sense one of the most important elements of our personal participation. I suggest that the patient’s and analyst’s needs for privacy and the illusion of privacy in the presence of the other, undertheorized within relational theory, is not at odds with an emphasis on valuing the patient’s capacity for a “read” on the analyst. Needs for privacy and the illusion of privacy held by patient and analyst need to be integrated into any psychoanalytic theory and form part of the basis of intimate regulatory systems between two people.

Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 24: 621-636, December 2014.

Link to Online Publication [available and can be downloaded in the library]

Previous Posts:

Donna Fromberg, PsyD (2014). Trouble in the Family: The Impact of Sexual Boundary Violations in Analytic Institute Life. In Deutsch, Robin A., ed. (2014) Traumatic Ruptures: Abandonment and Betrayal in the Analytic Relationship. New York, London: Routledge, 163-175.

Rita K. Teusch, PhD (2014). Courtship Letters of Freud and Martha BernaysJournal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 62/2: 325-343.

Don R. Lipsitt, MA, MD (2015) Hypochondriasis and Somatization Disorder: New Perspectives.In Hoyle Leigh, Jon Streltzer, eds. Handbook of Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry. New York: Springer, pp. 317-333.

José Saporta, MD (2014). Psychoanalysis Meets China: transformative dialogue or monologue of the Western voice. In David E. Scharff and Sverre Varvin, eds. Psychoanalysis in China. London: Karnac, pp. 73-90.

John C. Foehl, PhD (2014). A Phenomenology of DepthPsychoanalytic Dialogues, 24:289-303.

Malkah Tolpin Notman, MD (2014). Reflections on Widowhood and Its Effects on the Self. Psychodynamic Psychiatry: Vol. 42, No. 1, pp. 65-88.

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