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Patients' Motivations and the Analyst's Experience

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Although the analyst’s way of organizing what he or she hears is influenced by assumptions about human motivation, the analyst’s experience in the room with a patient is quite removed from any theories about motivation he or she might hold. So compelling is the clinical interaction that it may only be retrospectively that it is possible to observe how one’s theory of motivation influences one’s work. Several years ago, on the day before I began working on this paper, I took verbatim notes on the last three sessions of a holiday shortened week to see whether I could discern what assumptions about motivation I was making. I would not describe my theory of motivation as it appears at the end of the essay the way I did at the time I wrote this essay. Today, I would try to integrate drive theory with object relations more explicitly.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Cleveland Psychoanalytic Institute

Publication date: December 20, 2001

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