Unconscious Communication and Analytic Listening

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Organised by:

British Psychoanalytic Association

02 October 2021

Time: 11:00 - 13:00

Price: £25 Full Price £18 Trainees

Location: online


Speaker: Sarah Nettleton
The unique relationship between the free-associating patient and the analyst in a state of evenly-hovering attention allows the analyst, as Freud puts it, ‘to catch the drift of the patient’s Ucs with his own Ucs’. This deceptively simple phrase invites numerous questions.

  • How do we understand the nature of unconscious communication?
  • How do we view the balance between conscious and unconscious thinking in both patient and analyst?
  • How might this affect our approach to clinical technique?
  • What do Freud’s words imply about analytic listening?
  • What is the effect on the patient of being listened to in this way?

This paper will focus on the primacy of unconscious communication in the session and will explore the frame of mind in the analyst that best facilitates contact with the complexity of unconscious thinking.

Sarah Nettleton is a BPA psychoanalyst in private practice in London. Originally a musician, she has written on various aspects of music and the internal world, including the psychodynamics of musical giftedness. For the past 15 years she has specialised in the work of Christopher Bollas, giving seminars extensively in the UK and in Norway, France, Germany, Italy, Israel, Turkey, USA, Mexico, India and Ukraine. She is a visiting lecturer at the Israel Winnicott Centre, the Centro Winnicott in Rome, and the Chicago Centre for Psychoanalysis. Her book, The Metapsychology of Christopher Bollas: an Introduction, was published by Routledge in 2016.

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