Interpretation or Intersubjective Communication? - 19 March 2016, London

What makes a good intervention?

With Dr Aaron Balick, Patrick Casement and Professor Brett Kahr

Saturday 19 March 2016

The psychoanalytic technique of interpreting the unconscious, as a way of bringing previously unformulated and significant expectations about self and other into consciousness, raises many questions about technique: When should an interpretation be made? What is its goal? Will it have the intended therapeutic result? These remain important questions but any discussion about the classical technique of interpretation needs to be set alongside more recent understandings of the importance of empathy, atunement and the role of the therapist's subjectivity when making an intervention. Our speakers are invited to consider answers to these questions from the perspective of their own clinical experience.

Tavistock Centre
120 Belsize Lane

More info here.

Professor Brett Kahr

The ten best interpretations in the history of psychoanalysis: extracting the most mutative ingredients
For many mental health practitioners the “interpretation” constitutes one of the most crucial features of the psychotherapeutic process. And yet few colleagues can agree on such fundamental “architectural” aspects such as to how one builds an interpretation in terms of timing, length, depth, focus, and accuracy, let alone in terms of stylistic components such as frankness, diplomacy, phrasing, and vocal tone. In order to consider some of these technical issues and debates about classical interpretation in an increasingly “relational” field, Brett Kahr shall examine ten of the most impressive and inspiring interpretations rendered by our foremothers and forefathers from 1907 onwards. Drawing upon his experience as both a clinician and a historian, he shall explore which ingredients of these “top ten” interpretations might prove to be of most value to twenty-first-century mental health professionals.

Dr Aaron Balick

Whose interpretation of what? A relational perspective
It is plainly evident that therapists operate differently to each other in accordance with their character styles. These styles reflect the therapist’s own emotional, psychological, and attachment strengths and weaknesses. This subjective state in which they enter a therapeutic dyad is then further influenced by the character style and personality of their patient - alongside their presenting (conscious) and underlying (unconscious) troubles. While all therapists will draw upon their preferred body of theory and intervene accordingly (or not), we are left asking the question of what makes an “appropriate” intervention in the context of so many subjective variables. While Relational Theory gives some guidance on this question, we are still left asking the question of how one’s subjectivity may enhance or impair a therapist’s chosen interventions. Dr Balick will address this question by way of his own character style, drawing on theory and clinical experience.

Patrick Casement

What is it that most brings about change?
Interpretation, as in Freud, has traditionally been thought of as bringing the unconscious to consciousness. But is it only that? And what does a patient make of the analyst’s contributions? What of the other interventions available to a therapist? What is it that most brings about change? Interpreting from the history? Interpreting what is dynamically present? Engaging with the assumed monster in patient’s mind? Being understood? Patrick Casement will explore this with examples.

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