A heart that thinks
Author: Anne Alvarez
After half a century of therapeutic practice with children, Anne Alvarez can say: “I love psychoanalysis also for the not secondary reason that it works”. But it works if the therapist is able to learn from patients, if he is able to always look for new ways to communicate with them, even ways that may differ from the 'classic' ones. Only long after finding them was Alvarez able to frame those new ways to reach patients in a broader framework, where the psychoanalyst's interventions are arranged on a continuous dimension that varies directly with the variation of the patient's capacity for introjection, allowing the therapist to modulate his clinical action according to the patient's real possibilities of receiving it. On this continuum the author proposes to highlight three crucial points of reference for the success of communication, an explanatory level (why), a descriptive one (what), and an intensified, or 'vitalizing', level which consists of what Alvarez has called a 'call', that is, an active insistence on calling the patient's attention to a meaning ("Hey!"). It is essential to be able to recognize the level at which to operate to produce a real therapeutic result, and above all not to consider any of the three levels more or less legitimate ('orthodox') than another. The deepening of each level is the content of the three parts in which the book is divided.