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On being a fast-paced dreamer: how therapist and patient dream and talk in the changing relationship of therapy.

Dr Catherine McGrath

A long-term patient described her therapist as a 'fast-paced dreamer'. The sense seems to be of the therapist as holding conscious and unconscious, participating in the patient's inner world, creating a third space together, yet able to experience the personal, theoretical and cultural dimensions of one therapy amid therapies. Robert Hobson directs attention to this difficult therapeutic stance in Forms of Feeling : "The combination of concentrated attention to detail with a nebulous receptiveness, is the unattainable ideal of the psychotherapist". This patient's sophisticated capacity to describe her therapist's task co-existed with repeated outbursts of shame and rage at her inability to find "right words". The form of the therapy relationship changed from less conscious, with the path marked for patient and therapist by inner images, dreams, and later spoken metaphor, to a shared verbal exploration of these images. The metaphors of both provided underlying recurrent themes as the process shifted around them. Silences and words were equally meaningful. What words meant to each became a challenge and a meeting-point. Tomasello describes an intersubjective realm in his studies on the development of human communication, and this seems to mark the origins of the clinical phenomena described in this case.

WORLD DREAMING: WORLD CONGRESS FOR PSYCHOTHERAPY
24-28 August 2011 Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre
Darling Harbour, Australia.
Visit The World Council for Psychotherapy at http://www.worldpsyche.org

Catherine McGrath
Catherine McGrath
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Dr Catherine McGrath

Dr Catherine McGrath is a psychotherapist in private practice in the Illawarra, with a particular interest in Dissociative and Personality Disorders. An early graduate of ANZAP, Dr McGrath is now a faculty member and has held positions of Membership Secretary, President, and currently Director of Training. She is a Member of the International Association for Psychoanalytic Self-Psychology, International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy and the International Society for Study of Trauma and Dissociation.

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