Northern California Society for Psychoanalytic Psychology


In our newest feature, IMPULSE will introduce you to recently published books of psychoanalytic — and often local — interest with a brief author interview. To inaugurate BOOKMARK, we spoke to Christopher Bollas about The Freudian Moment, now available from Karnac.

IMPULSE: In The Freudian Moment you assert that here-and-now transference interpretations express resistance to free association. Why would an analyst or therapist have resistance to patients' free associations?

Christopher Bollas: Several reasons. To discover any sequential logic, one has to wait for the pattern of thought to unfold. Therapists have always had a hard time remaining quiet. Secondly, it requires a special discipline to listen in this manner. Analysts seem almost allergic to any real discipline and opt for their "feelings" or "thoughts from reverie" or more mystical sources, which all too often is a rationale for sloppy work. And, free associations can undermine any authority analysts have over the years arrogated to themselves — especially in the name of the transference or more altruistically "the relationship" — which can result in a worrying authoritarian presence in their work.

IMPULSE: What is lost when one makes a here-and-now transference interpretation?

CB: If it is commented on "now and then" it is probably appropriate. But this idea is now saturating the analyst's mind to the point where at the very least, it functions as a fetishistic object (to protect the analyst from intercourse with the unknown) and more worryingly, it is a paranoid idea of reference.

IMPULSE: If a clinician wishes to develop skill in perceiving communications from the patient's unconscious by searching for the "logic of sequence" in the therapeutic hour, what's a good way to begin?

CB: First, one has to give up the delusional position occupied by insistence that analysis is all about the transference or the relationship. Second, you cannot search for the logic of sequence. If you relax and just listen a pattern of thought derived from the analysand's ordered sequence of thought will suddenly occur to you. Detailed study of process sessions will help skeptics to see how we all think by association, and in 2008, Routledge will publish a book of mine with detailed sessions that I hope will help people see more clearly what Freud meant by the logic of sequence.

For a more in-depth interview with Christopher Bollas by Patricia Marra, M.F.T., see the upcoming Fall 2007 issue of fort da, NCSPP's journal.

Cate Corcoran, Psy.D.
IMPULSE Features Editor