Consulting room confidential
My dear Frau,
I know that the essence of being an analyst is the analytic position. But what is this? How do I sit? Is it straight up, legs crossed, head tilted? Are there any expressions that go with it? This was never spelled out in training and I have never been brave enough to ask. As you know training an analyst means having your own analysis and of course, this being so, you never actually get to see your analyst since he sits behind you and then he pretends not to know you when he sees you in the corridor. However, I have been experimenting with the analytic position and have found some rather interesting results which I would like to share with you and your readers. Listen to this: If you sit with your back bent and your chin resting on your chest and your hands trailing on the ground, even the most basic interpretations evade you. This is the case with legs both crossed and uncrossed. Nevertheless, I find change of facial expressions most interesting of all in their effect on free association. Try this: if you are wide eyed, with mouth hanging open and saliva dribbling from each corner – the patient will tell you an early sexual dream that they have forgotten. If you close your eyes and look at the ceiling – the patient loses their train of thought and may even ask you if you remember what they last said. As you can imagine this can be very dangerous especially if you have been drawing instead of taking notes. I will soon be presenting a paper at the next international conference and wanted first to run it past you. As you may well appreciate this is revolutionary, and like Copernicus will change our view of psychoanalytic therapy forever. It is the analyst who is at the centre of the analytic universe, not the patient!
Yours at the new frontier,
Dr. D. Crockett
Dear old Crock,
Yes, you may run it past me, but only if you keep on running. You are bored, Doctor. that is the issue here. I have treated many analysts who have started dealing with their boredom behind the couch by pulling faces and even doing the soft shoe shuffle before springing back onto their seat in the nick of time to deliver an interpretation.
Nevertheless, Zig and I were aware of the difficulties of maintaining the analytic position. Sandor Ferenczi had to be tied down to his chair to prevent him from kissing and tickling his patients. Later on, to our professional shame, he started begging them to analyse him. I am shocked and saddened to see that he has come into favour in the analytical world after all these years. But maintaining the analytical position is a struggle my friend, a struggle. I know for sure that Zig danced with Dora and howled with the Wolf Man. It never gets any easier. But all is not lost. You could avail yourself of a pair of analytic chair callipers and I would strongly urge you to make use of them. These are small and unobtrusive plastic straps that fit snugly into the back of the chair. Not unlike a seatbelt, you put them on at the beginning of a session and push a little time button that locks you in for 50 minutes. They are called ìLittle analytic helpersî and believe me, more analysts than you can count are using them.