Shirah Vollmer MD

The Musings of Dr. Vollmer

Archive for February 6th, 2013

“Exit Lines”

Posted by Dr. Vollmer on February 6, 2013

“Exit lines” as Glen Gabbard MD likes to say, or “doorknob comments” are another “royal road” to the unconscious. The comments as one leaves the therapy office are often so revealing, as this is the opportunity for the patient to get the last word, without time for challenge or deeper thought. “You got up early this morning,” one fictional patient says at the end of our 7:00 am appointment, making me think that in her mind, it was hard for her to come today. Maybe she wanted me to appreciate that she made a large effort to make this early time. Alternatively, maybe she wanted to show appreciation for me making time for her. There is always the question of bringing up the “exit line” at a future session, but by that time, the feeling in the room is gone. There is power in the “exit line” as it resembles getting the “last word” in on an argument. It is the final punch at the end of a long fight. It leaves me with wonder and curiosity. Sometimes it leaves me with difficult feelings which I am not able to discuss with the patient until the next session so I am left to stew. Universally, it helps me understand a very important ┬ádynamic in the relationship.

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Posted in doorknob comments, Psychoanalysis, Psychotherapy, Teaching, Teaching Psychoanalysis | 10 Comments »

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