Puzzle 1

NOTE: As explained earlier in this website, the puzzles provided will follow the usual sequence of therapist-patient engagements that are parts of a developing, then ongoing, then ultimately completing therapy.


A colleague has left a message on your answering machine to say that he has referred Ms. A R, a forty-seven year old lawyer and married mother of three, for psychoanalysis or analytic psychotherapy. She calls the next day.

 “Hello Dr. … ,  A R calling,”  “Yes, I got the message that you would be calling.”

“I’ve been anxious and depressed for three years now, and it has all become more severe recently. I have an analyst but she retired last year. I don’t think the work would take long.  Time is pretty flexible because I have arranged to be off work for a while.” 

“Ok, let’s meet and see if we can get a line on the problem. How would 9:30 this Thursday be?”  “Oh yes, that would be fine, thanks. “

After greetings in the waiting room and a brief exchange of comments on entering the office, as Ms. R. starts to sit down she bursts into tears and in a powerful panic shouts “Good God! What a shameful way to start!”.  She then forces a return to her composure at once.  


Let us start with what each of you spontaneously think/theorize/say/don’t say/do/don’t do as you observe and listen from the start of the phone call. This is a good place to begin for an interest in the development of a science in our various, analytically-related fields.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *