Doubt, Conviction and the Analytic Process: Selected Papers of Michael Feldman

Feldman, M. 2009. New Library of Psychoanalysis, Routledge.

In this profound and subtle study, a practising psychoanalyst explores the dynamics of the interaction between the patient and the analyst. Michael Feldman draws the reader into experiencing how the clinical interaction unfolds within a session. In doing so, he develops some of the implications of the important pioneering work of such analysts as Klein, Rosenfeld and Joseph, showing in fine detail some of the ways in which the patient feels driven to communicate to the analyst, not only in order to be understood by him, but also in order to affect him.

The author’s detailed descriptions of the clinical process allow the reader to follow the actual process that enables the patient to get into contact with thoughts and feelings of which he or she was previously unconscious or only vaguely aware.

Feldman makes the reader aware of the constant dynamic interaction between the patient and the analyst, each affecting the other. He shows how the analyst has to find a balance between doubt, uncertainty and confusion in himself and through this process may arrive at an understanding of what is happening, and by formulating this understanding the analyst can make a significant contribution to the process of psychic change.

This collection of essays not only throws light on fascinating questions of technique, but also reflects on elements that are fundamental to psychoanalytic work. It is essential reading for practising psychoanalysts and those in training, as well as anyone with a general interest in the psychoanalytic relationship between the client and the therapist in the consulting room.


Schafer, Preface.

Joseph, Introduction.


  • The Oedipus Complex: Manifestations in the Inner World and the Therapeutic Situation.
  • Splitting and Projective Identification. Projective Identification: The Analyst’s Involvement.
  • The Dynamics of Reassurance.
  • The Illumination of History.
  • Manifestation of the Death Instinct in the Consulting Room.
  • Envy and the Negative Therapeutic Reaction.
  • Addressing Parts of the Self.
  • ‘I Was Thinking….’
  • The Defensive Use of Compliance. Grievance: The Underlying Oedipal Configuration.
  • Filled with Doubt.
  • The Problem of Conviction in the Session.

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