Henry Markman presents a personal view of the ethical foundation of his clinical engagement. He aspires to be open to the patient’s communication at all levels: from non-mentalized experience and dissociated states, to disturbing, accurate perceptions of the analyst. Markman calls this openness, permeability, and availability, “presence”. He emphasizes that this ethical intention is a tall order, and he will inevitably fail at times. Because analysts are decentered in their position in the relationship, they may be unconscious of their absence and non-presence owing to their own unconscious defenses, past trauma, emotions, and personality inclinations. The emotional work of re-finding presence is the ethical act, in part because it restores a “Thou” relationship, a subject relationship with the patient.
Two clinical concepts fundamental to the presenter’s ethical intention of presence are mutuality and authenticity. Mutuality is the assumption that in a two-person experience, the reality of each person’s participation is equally available to the other. This recognition is crucial for the analyst to recognize in order to learn from the patient, as we know ourselves in dialogue with others. Analytic authenticity means that each analyst has a singular, unique way of engaging and caring for another in a mutual relation. The patient can sense when the analyst is “being herself” and when she is being guarded and avoidant. Trust develops from the realness and humanness that is palpable in the analyst’s struggles to be present. Self-disclosure is really this: the patient witnessing the ways the analyst has taken in and works with something difficult– even at the cost of the analyst’s stability and authority.
Several vignettes will illustrate Markman’s way of working within a matrix of mutuality and authenticity.
About Dr. Markman
Henry Markman is a Training & Supervising Analyst, San Francisco Center for Psychoanalysis (SFCP) and Co-chair of Dialogues in Contemporary Psychoanalysis at SFCP. In 2021 he published the book, Creative Engagement in Psychoanalytic Practice by Routledge. Recent publications include: “A Pragmatic Approach to Bion’s Late Work. (JAPA 2015) ; “Presence, Mourning, Beauty: Elements of Analytic Process,” (JAPA 2017); The Good, the Bad, The Ugly, and the Dead: A Typology of Analytic Fields,” (fort da 2018); Accompaniment in Jazz and Psychoanalysis,” (Psychoanalytic Dialogues 2020); “Embodied Attunement and Participation” (JAPA 2020), and “One sided analysis is no longer possible: the relevance of “mutual analysis” in our current world”. (fort da 2021).
Some of Henry Markman’s interests include modes of therapeutic action, embodied communication and the relevance of music in psychoanalysis, aesthetic experience, the emotional work of the analyst in the clinical encounter, and the emotional developmental of a therapist. He is currently working on a manuscript entitled “Five Un-easy Pieces: five psychoanalytic articles that changed my mind”. His clinical work and writing draws from Bion, Ferenczi, Balint, Winnicott, the American Relational Group, and Latin American field and link theorists. He is in private practice in Berkeley, where he consults and leads study groups.
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