Shirah Vollmer MD

The Musings of Dr. Vollmer

Archive for February 11th, 2014

Analytic Instrument

Posted by Dr. Vollmer on February 11, 2014



“Attuned to the harmonies-and the discords-of a session, Isakower was aware of momentary visual images, of fragments, of poetry or song, or an unbidden memory making an unexpected appearance.” Theodore Jacobs MD

Analytic listening, unlike friendship, involves tuning into the music of the hour, and thereby looking for themes and ideas about how to string the thoughts and feelings and affect together. “This set of mind involves a deliberate shift in the direction of reverie and daydreaming.” Theodore Jacobs MD says in his paper entitled “Listening, Dreaming, Sharing: On the Uses of the Analyst’s Inner Experience.” This instrument encourages, not just free association in the patient, but free association in the analyst, as well. AnneMarie, fifty-two, comes to mind. As she talks about her loneliness, her search for a husband, and her despair at finding one, I have the immediate image of being in a desert and feeling thirsty, mad at myself that I did not bring enough water into this desert. “I wonder if you are mad at yourself for not having a husband,” I say, based on the image that came to my mind. “Oh, you got that right, ” AnneMarie says with relief for being understood. This brief fictional vignette, which I will use in my class, ┬áis a good example of how my thoughts helped me understand AnneMarie, since she was not talking about her anger and self-hatred, but rather she was talking about how she was down on her luck in the man department. Focusing on the anger took us down a productive path of how she makes her life so miserable because she has not come to accept her life choices, to date. This anger, we wonder together, might get in her way of finding a relationship, as, it is possible, that other people pick up on this self-hatred as well. The analytic instrument was helpful. Thinking and reverie are our guides to understanding, both of ourselves and those around us. The tool requires endless sharpening, and hence the learning never stops. I have an interesting job.

Posted in Psychoanalysis, Psychotherapy, Teaching Psychoanalysis | 4 Comments »

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