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When our words disturb the psychoanalytic process: From resistance as a defense to resistance as an interactive process

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Words that “touch' are closely related to words that “jar.” This article faces the problem of micro- and macrotraumatic effects in psychoanalytic interpretation, using the theme of resistance as a guideline. If it is true that resistance is what blocks psychoanalytic comprehension and progress in clinical work, it is equally true that it provides elements for clinically organizing the psychoanalytic dialogue. Being attentive to the signals in the field, and making use of a greater dose of attention to communicating with the patient, one can try to reduce the “jarring” effect of interpretation. On the other hand, it is also true that this is probably a phenomenon that follows ineluctably from the very nature of psychic experience. To interpret resistance correctly, we must therefore view it not as negative viscosity opposing change but as a safety valve for the individual's identity, enabling one to negotiate between old and new patterns of experience. In this sense, it is not something concerning only the patient but is also a bi-personal problem that requires both intra- and interpsychic conceptualizing. Resistance is a problem that can only be effectively faced by recognizing that it is inevitably present in the couple.
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Keywords: Resistance; error; interpretation; paradox; trauma

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2008

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