1.5 Continuing Education Credits for Social Workers

Meisner Improvisation and Psychoanalysis: Stop, Look, and Listen With

Psychoanalytic literature is replete with references on listening. The papers state what is to be listened to but only implicitly attempt to address how to listen to a patient. Self psychologists agree that Kohut’s empathic listening perspective provides a valuable, broad listening approach with implications about the how of listening. Nonetheless, other authors have demonstrated that understanding a patient might require more than an empathic stance. In listening, the analyst’s experience can contribute to understanding the patient’s communication. How can such a relativistic perspective, which incorporates the analyst’s subjectivity, be applied in treatment? I propose that Meisner improvisation addresses this question. His improvisation offers a model of engagement between analyst and patient that I refer to as “Listening with.” The analyst listens with a patient to identify what the patient wants to be understood and addressed in the treatment. Meisner improvisation provides a model that not only describes how to listen, but also a model for training analysts in a process of listening with. Case material will be included.

Arthur A. Gray, PhD, an honorary member of IPSS, is faculty, supervisor, and serves on its Coordinating Committee. He is also faculty and supervisor at the Postgraduate Psychoanalytic Society’s Group Therapy Department, and at the Training Institute for Mental Health, and council member of the International Association for Psychoanalytic Self Psychology. He consults with self psychology groups in South Africa and in Japan, and conducts supervision online using his group supervisory model. His published articles apply self psychology and subjectivity theory to individual, couples, group, and supervision. He has a special interest in how improvisation informs the therapeutic process. In private practice in New York City, Arthur treats adults using individual, couples, and group psychoanalysis and psychotherapy.

NIP Conference Room, 250 West 57th Street, # 501, NYC, NY 8:00-9:30pm.

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