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On Language And Truth In Psychoanalysis

The Psychoanalytic Quarterly

Published online on


The author's focus in this paper is on the role that language plays in bringing to life the truth of the patient's lived experience in the analytic session. He discusses particular forms of discourse that enable the patient to experience with the analyst the truth that the patient had previously been unable to experience, much less put into words, on his own. The three forms of discourse that the author explores—direct discourse, tangential discourse, and discourse of non sequiturs—do not simply serve as ways of communicating the truth; they are integral aspects of the truth of what is happening at any given moment of a session. The truth that is experienced and expressed in the analytic discourse lies at least as much in the breaks (the disjunctions) in that discourse as in its manifest narrative.