Thoughts on the First Session

from Thomas Ogden’s paper “Comments on Transference and Countertransference in the Initial Analytic Meeting”:

“Everything the analyst does in the first face-to-face analytic session is intended as an invitation to the patient to consider the meaning of his experience. All that has been most obvious to the patient will no longer be treated as self-evident; rather, the familiar is to be wondered about, to be puzzled over, to be newly created in the analytic setting. The patient’s thoughts and feelings, his past and present, have new significance, and therefore the patient himself takes on a form of significance he has never held before. There is a particular form of significance generated in the analytic context that is unique to that setting. For the analysand, the consulting room is a profoundly quiet place as he realizes that he must find a voice with which to tell his story. This voice is the sound of his thoughts, which he may never have heard before. (The analysand may find he does not have a voice that feels like his own. This discovery may then serve as the starting point of the analysis.)”

“The analyst speaks and refrains from speaking in a way that communicates the fact that he accepts the patient as he is without judgment, and yet it is at the same time understood by both patient and analyst that they are meeting together for the purpose of psychological change.”