'Therapeutic action: the spoken and unspoken elements in interpretation’

The seminar is open free of charge to members of the University and to mental health professionals but space is limited. To attend it is helpful (but not essential) to e-mail paul.tod@sjc.ox.ac.uk

Following Freud, the spoken word has a privileged place in the ‘talking cure’ but, increasingly the importance of emotional and unspoken aspects of communication have been theorised. In this paper, I explore the role of the spoken and unspoken elements in making an interpretation. I use clinical material from a woman who self-harmed to illustrate that the analyst’s relationship to her own emotional resonances played a significant role in determining the therapeutic action and the outcome of interpretive interventions. I suggest that a pre-condition of a sufficiently effective interpretation is the integration of the iconic/indexical and symbolic identificatory elements of the dyadic
interaction in the mind of the analyst.