Listening to the Future

The rhythm to this work feels like a discovery. Listening to clients is far from new to me. I’ve been sitting in this chair with the other person across from me for years. I could do this in my sleep. This last sentence catches me unprepared. Perhaps the word sleep has to do with why this new work that I’m doing feels as if I were an explorer arriving at an unknown shore. It’s both old and new work. Maybe just the couch is new. I’m a psychotherapist, and before I embarked on training to become a psychoanalyst, whomever I listened to for fifty minutes sat across from me. My first training or control case is now a reality. I imagine showing these sentences to my supervisor, who listens to me talk about this case. I use the word patient in supervision. Maybe I’ll return to client. The last three sentences feel awkward. I’m uncomfortable. Listening is different for me when the person speaking is on the couch. His words or silences create and maintain the rhythm of the hour that feels impossible when we’re looking at each other. He’s my first patient on the couch. It’s impossible to know how many more there will be. There will be at least two more for me to complete my training. After that the future remains a mystery. Psychoanalysis doesn’t have the future it once had. It might not even have a future. Of course it will. Psychoanalytic listening is here to stay.

 

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