Psychoanalytic Listening: Methods, Limits, and Innovations

Author(s) : Salman Akhtar

Psychoanalytic Listening: Methods, Limits, and Innovations

Book Details

  • Publisher : Karnac Books
  • Published : October 2012
  • Cover : Paperback
  • Pages : 208
  • Category :
    Psychoanalysis
  • Catalogue No : 33344
  • ISBN 13 : 9781780491455
  • ISBN 10 : 178049145X
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'Joseph Breuer’s celebrated patient, Anna O., designated psychoanalysis to be a "talking cure". She was correct insofar as psychoanalysis does place verbal exchange at the center stage. However, the focus upon the patient’s and therapist’s speaking activities diverted attention from how the two parties listen to each other. Psychoanalysis is a listening and talking cure. Both elements are integral to clinical work. Listening with no talking can only go so far. Talking without listening can mislead and harm. And yet, the listening end of the equation has received short shrift in analytic literature.

This book aims to rectify this problem by focusing upon analytic listening. Taking Freud’s early description of how an analyst ought to listen as its starting point, the book traverses considerable historical, theoretical, and clinical territory. The ground covered ranges from diverse methods of listening through the informative potential of the countertransference to the outer limits of our customary attitude where psychoanalytic listening no longer helps and might even be contraindicated.'

- Salmon Akhtar, from his Introduction

Reviews and Endorsements

'In this slim but remarkable volume, Salman Akhtar has recast psychoanalysis, the renowned "talking cure", as essentially a "listening cure". Like a virtuoso musician, he guides us to better discern the sounds and silences of the analytic hour. His book is replete with experience-near vignettes and contains numerous pearls of clinical wisdom. It is bound to become another classic in the Akhtar tradition!'
- Ira Brenner, MD, Training and Supervising Analyst, Psychoanalytic Center of Philadelphia

'It might seem a matter to be taken for granted; of course, analysts listen to their patients. Far from being so, listening analytically is an essential skill that may take the analyst years to learn and is a skill that would seem to be unteachable. Salman Akhtar has taken up the challenge and demonstrates, in this masterful volume, how complex and multifaceted is this seemingly simple act. He reveals with brilliant clarity the many modes in which the analyst may listen to his patient and listen to himself while with his patient, and he provides the student a theoretical and practical base from which to learn to listen "like an analyst".'
- Herbert J. Schlessinger, Ph.D., Training and Supervising Analyst, Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research, New York

About the Author(s)

Salman Akhtar, MD, was born in India and completed his medical and psychiatric education there. Upon arriving in the USA in 1973, he repeated his psychiatric training at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, and then obtained psychoanalytic training from the Philadelphia Psychoanalytic Institute. Currently, he is Professor of Psychiatry at Jefferson Medical College and a training and supervising analyst at the Psychoanalytic Center of Philadelphia. He has authored, edited or co-edited more than 300 publications including books on psychiatry and psychoanalysis and several collections of poetry. He is also a Scholar-in-Residence at the Inter-Act Theatre Company in Philadelphia. Salman Akhtar received the Sigourney Award in 2012.

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