Truthful Words

This is supposed to be what it’s all about. I’ve trained for this moment, right now. The patient speaks. I listen. What he says and how I listen are separate matters. The word separate feels misleading. His words and my listening aren’t separate from each other. This downtown second floor office, with a view of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains, witnesses both our verbal and nonverbal communications. His commitment to this work keeps me going. My own words surprise me. I’m a psychoanalyst. I’m training to be one. I’m also a patient in psychoanalysis. It’s the heart of my training. Nothing is more important than this, this work, in this room, with this patient. I wish I weren’t the only one who believed it. Where did that come from? Psychoanalysis is dying. It’s not dead. This treatment is proof of it. My patient and I meet like this four times a week. We’re in search of the truth. Or I tell myself that. I must stop speaking to myself. The patient is speaking, to me.

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