LX:87 | The Analyst as Artist

A fine painter can be thought of as looking at “the same thing” other people look at, seeing something different, and making it visible to us: The painter reveals – renders perceptible – something we had not seen before. In the case of van Gogh, it might be the humanity in an old pair of shoes, in the case of Monet, it might be the shimmering colors in a garden under the influence of the hot summer sun. A photographer does something similar with light and textures: She uses films, filters, shutter speeds, and aperture settings to bring out something that is there – already there, waiting to be seen, as it were – but that is not seen without her help. A novice musician strives to play the notes written on the sheet music at more or less the correct speed, but the accomplished musician subtly brings out, by varying speed and stress, the multiple melodies or voices implicitly there in the very same notes.

That might be one fruitful way of thinking about what we as therapists do as well: We bring out something that is there – already there, waiting to be heard – but that is not heard without our help. As one of my analysands once put it, his desire was like a murmur, a heart murmur so faint no one had ever heard it before, not even him, until he began his analysis. (46)


Fink, Bruce. Fundamentals of Psychoanalytic Technique: A Lacanian Approach for Practitioners.  W.W. Norton & Company 2007. 


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