The analyst’s job ﬁrst and foremost is to listen to what is being said, and will also be open to the feelings being expressed with or without words. The analyst will help tease apart the threads or the knots of your many layered narratives. Analysis means to loosen. This in turn frees up the free association.
At times the analyst will intervene, underlining certain words or phrases, slips of the tongue, language use, or to ask a question about what has been said, or to highlight what has been said. The analyst will also make links from time to time – links that may not have occurred to you before, between say the past and the present, or a dream element and everyday life, or one word / phrase and another, and so on. She may at times highlight what you are not saying or never speak about.
The analyst’s job is to analyse, to loosen, to shake up, to open up, to interrogate, to engage with your account of things in a way that is challenging to your defences, masks, roles, etc. We all have our necessary defences and during the analysis these need to be ‘rattled’ somewhat. Philosophers call this process deconstruction.
More speciﬁc interventions might include interpretations, deciphering of dreams, slips and idiosyncratic language usage. The analyst will highlight how conditionings came about, prohibitions, especially self-hate and punishment, low self-esteem.
Less frequently, the analyst will make tentative constructions of (childhood) scenarios that have been forgotten or were so early that no verbal memory was possible. These earliest ‘patterns’ have the most profound effects later in life, yet we likely as not have no awareness of them. Each of us was ‘thrown’ into the world and had to make do with where we landed with the parents and family we had. And a key part of the analysis is unpicking these deepest strata that affect us to this very day.
These analytic activities will often stir anxiety, anger, hatred and so on. And you may feel things are getting worse rather than better. This is part of the homeopathic process that the analyst will be very attentive to. You are going into problematic areas of life that have needed to be worked through and unknotted. People used to call this ‘facing their demons’ hate felled or resentful feelings, self-destructive feelings, shameful. embarrassing things from the past (and present) that can be reconsidered now in the calm space of the sessions and spoken about, maybe for the ﬁrst time. This is a key part of your analysis. During these times the analyst acts more as a container of strong feelings and anxieties to enable you to bear the strain.