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British Journal of Medical Psychology (2001), 74, 223236 Printed in Great Britain q 2001 The British Psychological Society


Voices of the self in psychotherapy: A qualitative analysis

Eugenie Georgaca
City College, Thessaloniki, Greece Approaches that view the self as constituted by socio-cultural processes and as plural, consisting of a multiplicity of states, positions, functions, etc., have ourished in the last decades. This paper explores the multi-voiced nature of the self, drawing upon Lacans theory of subjectivity and Bakhtins concept of dialogism. Subjectivity is seen as constituted through language as expressed in the speech of the subjects important early others. The psychoanalytic concept of transference, understood as a semiotic process of enacting early interpersonal patterns in the subjects present relations, provides a link between the unfolding of subjectivity in the present and its historical continuity. The articulation of subjectivity is discussed through a micro-analysis of extracts from sessions of a long-term psychoanalytic psychotherapy. The analysis demonstrates the enactment of transferential dialogical positions at the beginning of the therapy and traces their recognition by the client through the gradual development of increasingly re exive subject positions towards the end of therapy. It is argued that the aim of therapy should be the facilitation of a complex subjectivity, whereby the different subject positions can be uently articulated within an overall re exive frame.

The last decades have witnessed a ourishing of approaches that view the self as plural, consisting of a multiplicity of positions, voices, states of mind, functions, etc. (Rowan & Cooper, 1999; Stiles, 1997a). The trend has been facilitated by a critique of selfcontained individualism and its gradual replacement with a constitutive view of selfhood as constructed by socio-cultural processes (Sampson, 1989). This shift has had its echoes in psychology, with the development of social constructionist approaches (Gergen, 1999), and psychotherapy, with calls for a critical appraisal of psychotherapy practice and research (Parker, 1999) and the emergence of narrative therapies (McNamee & Gergen, 1992). The plural view of the self, it has been argued, is consistent with the historical and social condition of postmodernity, in which exibility and horizontal integration are valued as subjective qualities over stability and hierarchical organization (Rappoport, Baumgardner, & Boone, 1999). The debates, however, about the extent to which multiplicity is enhancing or pathological and whether there needs to be an organizing centre are far from settled (Stiles, 1997b). This paper aims to contribute to the ongoing discussion on the multiplicity of the self through the employment of Lacans and Bakhtins theories of language and subjectivity Below, I will address issues around the historical development and unfolding of subjectivity,
Requests for reprints should be addressed to Dr Eugenie Georgaca, City College, 13 Tsimiski Street, Thessaloniki 54624, Greece.


Eugenie Georgaca

drawing upon these two theories, and discuss their implications for psychotherapy. I will then demonstrate the changes in subject positions that take place in the course of therapy through a micro-analysis of extracts from a long-term psychotherapy. Spatial and temporal dimensions of the self For the approaches mentioned above, the self is formed and performed through interactions in speci c and cultural contexts. Consequently, the essence of the self and the object of therapeutic intervention is not some extra-discursive phenomenon either in the external world or in the persons psyche but the discourses, meanings and practices through which the self has been formed and through which it unfolds in the present. Hermans (1997) theorized the self as a constellation of dialogically structured positions, each with their own worldview and voice, in relations of intersubjective exchange and dominance. The I moves between positions in an imaginal landscape, depending on time, place and situation, resulting in a multi-voiced self. Multiplicity is, thus, seen as necessary and positive; dysfunctionality is dependent not on the degree of multiplicity but rather on the extent of rigidity of positions and the dominance of one position over others (Hermans & Goncalves, 1999). However, any approach to the multiplicity of the self needs to include both what Hermans (1996) calls a spatial dimension, investigating the way in which this multiplicity unfolds in the present, and a temporal dimension, looking at the historical formation of this multiplicity. And it is here, I will argue, that a combination of a Bakhtinian and psychoanalytic approach can be helpful. Historicizing the voices of the self: transference Psychoanalysis 1 stresses both the plurality of the self and its dynamic aspect as well as the crucial role of early interactions in the development of the self. Lacanian theory has gone the furthest in theorizing the social and linguistic constitution of subjectivity. For Lacan (1997a,b) both consciousness and the unconscious are constructed in and through language as it is articulated through the speech of the subjects early important others. Moreover, the subject comes into being as dispersed, divided between consciousness and the unconscious, each of which is also internally heterogeneous. While Lacans theory of language is based on Saussurian structural linguistics, which views language as a structure realized in speech by individual speakers, for Bakhtin language is a living body of utterances used in real interactions (Morson, 1986). According to Bakhtin (1986), speech is always addressed to someone, and every utterance has an addressee. Moreover, the addressee and their anticipated response provide the structuring force of the utterance. Signs are not only used in real dialogues but are also the material of the psyche (Voloshinov, 1986). Dialogues in a social space are translated into inner speech, which can take the form of dialogues between internal positions. Notwithstanding the differences between Bakhtin and Lacan, their positions of viewing

Although the terms therapy, psychotherapy and psychoanalysis are not identical, and their de nitions and differences are the subject of ongoing theoretical, clinical and institutional debates, I will use them interchangeably for the purpose of this paper.

Voices of the self in psychotherapy


subjectivity as made of the same material as language are remarkably similar and will provide the basis for their combination in this paper. Bakhtins theory, seen from a temporal point of view, implies that dialogues between oneself and ones important others in ones past get internalized as inner dialogue and expressed through speech in the persons relations with others in the present. This is very similar to Lacans concept of transference. Transference is the re-enactment of patterns of relating to ones important others in the therapy setting, with the therapist placed in the position of the persons other, which is usually their Oedipal parental other. For Lacan (1977c), transference takes place in language, through the analysand addressing the analyst in the same way as their important past others. Transference, then, can be seen as the enactment of speci c positions, the rehearsing of speci c dialogues in the here and now of the therapeutic setting, whereby the analysand speaks from a speci c position and addresses the analyst as the counterpart, the addressee of that position. I will employ the term dialogical pattern, borrowed from recent reformulations of cognitive analytic therapy (Leiman, 1997) to describe these interlocking addresser addressee positions. Following a Bakhtinian and Lacanian approach, I will use the terms voices and subject positions rather than roles or representations to describe these dialogically structured patterns of relating, treating them as not just an epiphenomenon but as the very material of the self. These voices, I will argue, do not get internalized once and for all and then expressed in the subjects speech. Nor is it the case that they are rst projected onto the therapist and then talked about, as transference is theorized in other psychoanalytic schools (Sandler, Dare, & Holder, 1992). In a framework that views subjectivity as semiotic, the internal and external are not two qualitatively different domains. The distinction between the individual and the environment, and also that between speech and context, can be replaced with the concept of intertextuality, which views the wider social domain, interpersonal interactions and the psyche as interrelated semiotic systems, each drawing upon and translating signs from the others in a continuous movement of reorganization and mutual in uence (Kristeva, 1980). Dialogism as a struggle between voices The addressivity of utterances, the notion that speech is always structured by its anticipated addressee, is but one aspect of the Bakhtinian concept of dialogism. For Bakhtin, language is also fundamentally dialogical in the sense that words have a social history of belonging to speci c clusters of signs. Language is a domain of struggle between dominant languages and attempts to subvert them, between monoglossia and heteroglossia (Bakhtin, 1981). In psychotherapy, this involves a struggle between the dominant of cial language of the therapist and the unof cial languages of the clients lifeworld. While it is obvious that the analysand adopts the language of psychoanalysis to a certain extent, this is not as straightforward a monological imposition as Voloshinov (1976) claims. The analysand actively both resists and incorporates the language of psychotherapy into his/her lifeworld, and this can facilitate shifts in positions that allow the analysand to view themself from a richer and more empowering perspective (Burman, 1995; Dorval & Gomberg, 1993). The concept of dialogism also requires attentiveness to the source and author of the


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words uttered. Since words belonging to language as the domain of the social, the individual speaker cannot in principle be the sole author of their own speech. What is particularly relevant to psychotherapy is that, apart from the general intertextuality of language, there is a speci c intertextuality of the words that the analysand uses, which has to do with previous instances of words in the subjects personal history. The words the analysand uses in therapy carry, apart from their socially recognizable meaning, the meanings attached to them in their previous uses in important interactions of the persons history. Moreoever, each of the dialogical positions of the self is endowed with a voice with its own vocabulary as well as grammatical, stylistic, and often intonational properties. Leiman (1998) demonstrated how an apparently disorganized stretch of talk of a psychotherapy client can be understood as a combination of alternating voices, which not only have distinct linguistic properties but also contain different subject positions and addressees. Transference, thus, involves the enactment in the therapy setting of speci c subject positions with their corresponding addressees, which, I will add now, are articulated from within voices with distinct vocabularies and linguistic organization. These dialogical patterns can be described using the concept of frame. Frames are stretches of talk and text with distinct and internally consistent linguistic and sylistic properties as well as addresser and addressee positions (Tannen, 1993). The therapists interventions: exploring positions and creating signs How does the analyst receive and respond to the analysands utterances? The analyst, in the transference frame, is addressed as the counterpart of the analysands position, in Lacanian terms as the other of the imaginary interpersonal patterns. However, the analyst does not respond from the position they are placed in, but from a third position, what Lacan calls the Other. This is not an all-knowing, judging Other, but the Other of language as slippery and polysemic (Fink, 1995). This is very similar to Bakhtins (1986) notion of un-repeatability and un- nalizability of the utterance. The analysts response conveys to the analysand not the hidden meaning of their utterance, because there is no nalized hidden meaning to convey, but the fundamental openness of utterances, the impression that there are other layers of meanings to the analysands utterances that neither the analysand nor the analyst can fully comprehend. This kind of intervention, in Shotters (1993) terms, makes a rhetorical/poetic use of language, that is to say, uses language to move the conversational counterpart. When the analyst, the voices addressee, does not respond from the position the analysand expects, the analysand gets shaken from their position, the well-established transference patterns are destabilized, and their nature as transference patterns becomes apparent, so that the analysand can recognize them, re ect on them, trace their origin and eventually replace them with other ways of relating and new subject positions (Lacan, 1977c). This approach requires attentiveness, rstly, to the positions of the speaker and addressee performed in the analysands discourse. What position is the analysand speaking from? Whom is s/he addressing? The exploration of these questions requires a more complex analysis of the functions of the addresser and addressee which moves beyond the sender and recipient of speech sounds and engages with questions of

Voices of the self in psychotherapy


authorship, responsibility and accountability over what is uttered. Secondly, it requires sensitivity to the language of self and other being used. Whose words is the analysand using? Which languages is s/he employing? It also requires the analyst, and increasingly the analysand, to cross boundaries between different languages, local moral codes, and personal uses and meanings of words (Katz & Shotter, 1996). The direction of therapy: between monologism and polyphony The remaining question is that of the overall aim of therapy. It seems that different therapies which view subjectivity as plural agree that their aim is to reduce dissociation between voices and their xity in order to enable a exible and adaptive interplay between them. In this view, dysfunctionality and psychopathological phenomena are the result either of silencing certain aspects of the self, which might then be expressed in pathological ways, or of dissociation between voices, which then often results in an unresolved antagonism between aspects of the self. The aim is, therefore, to facilitate the acknowledgement, exploration and eventual coordination of the different voices. Some therapists propagate a truly polyphonic self, in which all positions have their own voice from an equal ground. Others argue for the need to develop a central agency that would coordinate the different positions (for a review of the debate, see Stiles, 1997b). Re exivity, the ability to take onself as an object of thought and speech (Leiman, 2000), seems to be central to such a project. Whatever the stated aim of therapy, in practice, it does not seem possible for the client to engage with the different subject positions except by looking at them from a separate, re exive position. The encouragement of a re exive position, however, entails the danger that this might silence and dominate over the other voices. This would produce an essentially monological self, in which all other positions would be voiced through and mediated by an over-arching observer. In an attempt to tackle this issue, I will draw upon Foress-Bennetts (1997) analysis of the different I positions in an account of rape. Foress-Bennett shows how the account consists of four alternating frames : the narrative frame, in which the I is positioned in the immediate context of the rape; the pragmatic frame, in which I marks the mind of the speaker as the resource of the narrative; the analytic frame, in which the I is concerned with the relation between experience and language; and nally the re exive frame, in which the I ponders the meaning of the rape for her. She argues that the re exive I, almost like a super-ordinate position, binds together the experiencing and the thinking Is in an overall frame and provides a continuity to the narrators subjectivity. However, it is the interplay of these frames and their quite frequent coexistence in the same stretches of talk, rather than the dominance of the re exive I, which produce the auto-biographical I and constitute a mobile, rich and complex and, as a result, credible and accountable, subjectivity within the narrative. In agreement with Foress-Bennett, I would argue that there needs to be a position that engages with and re ects upon the others as if from a distance, but it is also important that the other positions of the self are allowed a voice. Maybe therapy should aim not at the replacement of the variety of Is with an overviewing re exive I but at an interplay between all these positions, including the re exive I, in a uent narrative of the self. The last extract I will present later is an example of such interplay.


Eugenie Georgaca Analysing shifts in subject positioning in long-term psychotherapy

Below, I will present and analyse extracts from a 7-year-long psychoanalytic psychotherapy. Elsewhere (Georgaca, 2000), I looked at the shifts in the clients positions within one psychotherapy session, focusing mainly on the therapists interventions. The extracts presented here range from the early to the last sessions of the therapy, representing the development of subjective positions from the original transference pattern, whereby the client speaks from within a transference position addressing the analyst as the positions counterpart, to the employment of a re exive position towards the end of therapy. The psychotherapy was carried out at the Menninger Clinic, USA. All sessions were recorded, and 17 were randomly chosen to be transcribed and analysed for a joint research project (Horwitz et al., 1996). I was granted use of the transcripts for my own project and obtained background information through reading the joint publication. Following the standard methods of analysing data in qualitative and, in particular, discourse analytic research (Banister et al., 1995), the transcripts were read many times for purposes of coding. Gradually, and after a number of preliminary analyses of all transcribed sessions, the number of extracts for full analysis was reduced and organized in terms of themes. The extracts presented below are characteristic examples of phenomena that are frequently encountered in the sessions. In the extracts, C indicates the clients and T the therapists speech. All potentially revealing details have, of course, been changed. Both the therapist and the client are male, and the masculine pronoun will be used throughout the analysis. Enacting the transference pattern: you are a supertherapist In this session, the client reproaches himself because he suspected that he deliberately tried to fool the therapist. The therapist is presented as a supertherapist whom the client feels compelled to cut down to size. Immediately before this extract, the client talked about his inability to be a faithful, loving son with regard to his father, whom he also wished to cut down to size. Extract 1Session 16
C: and what right ... what right do I have to ... feel this about you ... to feel angry or upset ... at the difference between us ... like you ... why I cant accept that ... you know, thats what I say to myself ... and ... and bene t from that ... hell, youre a supertherapist ... why shouldnt I be glad and celebrate that ... because thats going to help me get better ... ah ... why is it that I have to nd ways to feel bad about that ...// and part of me ... I feel like Im scared to death of, again, is how youre going to react ... or what Im afraid this way in which youre going to react ... either in terms of dismissing me or of saying, well, if thats the kind of person you are, Mark, Ill continue to work with you, but ... then you pull yourself back from me and that just separates us ... all the more [...] and one of the big struggles Im having in my faith is that part of me is so angry at God and wants to challenge everything that I can think of and other parts say, no, Mark, thats the bad boy... thats the sinner, you know, God is a great God and who are you, a mere human being, or less than a human being, to question God? // and you know, with you, who are you, Mark, ... youve had a little training, a little experience in counsellingkinds of things ... who are you to challenge or want to feel ... you know, how could I even think of feeling on a level with you ...

The beginning of the passage seems like an internal dialogue addressed from one position of the self to another. This is also indicated in the commentary thats what I say to myself

Voices of the self in psychotherapy


in the middle of the passage. The dialogue is vividly performed from within rather than talked about. The status of the addresser and the addressee of the passage is rather complicated. The presence of the therapist as listener is acknowledged, and apparently, the passage is addressed to him, as witnessed by the presence of you in the text (to feel this about you, you are a supertherapist). However, the dialogue seems to take place between a self-reproaching, superegoic we might say, position which critically questions the part of the self that wishes to challenge authority, that refuses to play the role of the faithful, loving son. The therapist is addressed as a supertherapist, an all-knowing authority gure, and the words used here repeat the earlier description of the clients relation to his father. The therapist as the recipient of the clients discourse has a double function here: he is both a supertherapist, the counterpart of a transferential dialogical pattern, and a witness of an internal dialogue between two self-positions. The passage then shifts to expressing a fear about the therapists reaction to the clients motivation to cut him down to size. The fantasized therapist reaction is originally produced in a re exive mode, prefaced by I feel like Im scared to death of, and then the distance gradually decreases (Im afraid of) to turn towards the end to a direct factual description (and then you pull yourself away from me). The text is interpersonally oriented towards the therapist as listener. This can be seen in the surface of the text through both the content of the statements and the intense Iyou interplay. At a different level, the therapist as addressee is at the heart of the construction of the utterances; both the rhetorical organization of the passage and the highly emotive language used presuppose a potentially reproaching addressee. The unravelling of the imagined scenarios articulates precisely the anticipated responses which provide the structuring force of the clients utterances. The therapist qua reproaching other is integrated in a dialogue, whereby the counterpart position, that of the addressee, is both described and vividly played out in the form of direct reporting of the anticipated therapists words. The next passage vividly exempli es the struggle between being a faithful, loving son and the wish to challenge the others authority as well as the self-reproaching superegoic position that assigns culpability to the challenging side. The passage is framed as one of the big struggles Im having, which assumes a re exive position of looking at the struggles, and then the struggle is played out as a dialogue between parts of me, presented in the third person, with different wishes and voices. The words used as part of the direct reported speech of the self-reproaching voice can be traced in the voice of parental authority (no, Mark, thats the bad boy) and religious authority (youre the sinner, God is a great God). The distantiation of the conversing parts from the speaking I serves the presentation of dif cult material while diminishing authorial responsibility. It also, however, constitutes the vivid articulation in speech, the voicing of the different positions that constitute the self, enacted in the here and now from their own viewpoint without being subjected to the over-arching view of the re exive I. Then, the same frame is transposed from God to the therapist. In this extract, the clients relation to the therapist as the embodiment of authority is both described and played out. Parallels are established between the clients perception of and reaction towards the therapist and that of his other important others, his parents and God. Although the client presents this as nothing more than a parallelism, it is obvious that the other the client is addressing throughout this extract extends beyond the


Eugenie Georgaca

therapist as the physically present listener. The therapist comes to embody the function of the addressee in a dialogical pattern between the client and authority gures; the addressee of the utterances is the therapist qua authority gure. Correspondingly, the client plays out the positions of the faithful son, the challenging bad boy, and the selfreproaching overviewer in the here and now of the session. The client is far from consciously recognizing that he transfers onto the therapist his struggles over his relation to authority; as far as he is concerned, the therapist is a supertherapist, and his dilemma is over celebrating or challenging the therapists authority. This will mutate slowly through the therapy, whereby the therapist as listener and the various other addressees will start getting disentangled and the patterns origin recognized and re ected upon. This extract establishes a pattern than in different forms runs through the whole of the therapy, that of the client positioning himself as the inferior in an unequal relation in front of an all-knowing reproaching other. The rest of the extracts will trace the development of different aspects of this theme through the course of the therapy. Establishing distance through intellectual recognition The subject of this session is the clients perception that the therapist works with him in order to satisfy his self-image and reputation. Immediately prior to this extract, the client traces this to the parenting that he, and his parents before him, received, whereby children were to serve the adults. Then, in this extract, the therapist shifts from a quest for the origin of the pattern to the therapeutic relation. Extract 2session 194
T: why would I, in particular why would I really not want to give you what you need? Or Ill give you something enough to satisfy myself but really not give you what you need? C: (long pause) I dont ... I dont know, I can let some things surface but there may be more thats ... too dif cult to come, but I dont know ...// basically its like ... why should you give me anything? Or care about me when I ... theres not ... theres not all that much I can do for you, just not all that much I can do to repay you ...// its hard because, you know, my ... more feelings are starting to come, but at rst ... my intellect really says to me, you know, that your question is a good question, that you would have no reason not to want to help me ... thats why youre in the kind of work that you do, thats the whole point of it ... thats ...// so I know that the problems are ... not with you or your motivations or anything with you ... it is with my perception of myself

After having been grouped together with the parents as part of the pattern of authority gures sel shly pursuing the satisfaction of their needs at the expense of those subjected to them, the therapist separates himself and asks the client to consider in particular the therapists motivation for such an action. The intervention is structured in a hypothetical mode (would) and uses the clients words, attributing the content of the utterance to the client while suspending agreement with it. The clients surprise and dif culty in answering is apparent in the long pause in the beginning of his response and the repeated I dont know that follows. He goes on to indicate that the therapists question produced an in ux of associations, some of which he can talk about while others are dif cult to articulate (dif cult to come could be

Voices of the self in psychotherapy


interpreted as dif cult to come to the surface, i.e. to talk about or as dif cult to come to terms with). The client then produces a formula as a rhetorical question, which implies a negative answer: you have no reason to give me anything, since I cannot repay you. He then reiterates the dif culty caused by the in ux of dif cult feelings and constructs an opposition between his feelings, which are responsible for the formula produced before, and his intellect, which produces a counter-formula, that the therapist would have no reason not to want to help him. The distancing from the transferential pattern is, in this instance, performed through a double move. Firstly, a distinction is drawn between an emotional response which plays into the pattern and an intellectual response which can critique it, whereby the two are juxtaposed on the same level and with similar formulations. Secondly, the therapist is addressed as therapist rather than as a member of the category of authoritative others, drawing upon socially available discourses on the therapists role. The passage ends with a re exive recognition that the attitude the client assumes the therapist has towards him derives not from the therapist but from the client, indirectly recognizing, thus, that he has been attributing to the therapist elements of his authority others. It could be argued that this does not amount to anything more than rationalization, that is to say, an intellectual recognition, which does not necessarily imply a shift in subjective positions. I think, however, that an important shift happens here, whereby even instantaneously, the therapist gets separated from the transferential position in which he was located; a gap is introduced, and the client is able to differentiate between the listener and the addressee of his utterances. If, in this extract, this is done quite intellectually, in the following extract, the same recognition takes place from a more complex position. Combining the transference and re exive frames In this session, in the context of an approaching break, the client revisits the theme of the struggle of positions between the therapist and himself. He develops the same themes of being a patient for the glory of the therapist, being inferior in front of a supertherapist and wishing to downgrade the therapist. The therapist links these themes to the forthcoming interruption, and the client just before this extract describes how he anticipates that he will function well over the break. Extract 3session 195
C: ... but its like ... Ill get through the time of the interruption ... alright ... Ill have some tough times ... I think more likely when I get back ... but Im so afraid that you will perceive that to be ... a belittling of you ... of your role ... T: how dare you function competently without me? C: right T: uh hum


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C: and so I guess the feeling is that in order to keep you happy and to have you continue to work with me and to come back and ... I feel like I need to pretend something thats not there ... I need to pretend greater dependence and less capability on my own part ... because if you dont have me to worship you, to feed you, to care for you but always from the position of an inferior ... ah ... that then I will be of no value to you ... and you will have no reason to want me around

The extract starts with the client assessing his coping over the holiday and upon his return. Then, the client shifts to the transference and expresses a fear that the therapist will perceive his well-functioning as belittling his role. The therapist takes on and voices the clients anticipated response. The statement is spoken by the therapist, but it is performed from within the clients frame. It appears as a continuation of the clients imagined scenario, whereby the therapist simply voices the position the client has put him in. At the same time, however, the words the therapist uses (function competently) belong more to an of cial discourse, re ecting what the therapist would have said, were he to produce the anticipated response on his own accord. The client veri es the therapists intervention (right) and elaborates further, producing a very clear articulation of his transferential position with regard to the therapist. However, he quali es it as a feeling and introduces it by I guess, which establishes a distance between the speaking I and the theme described. This is a very good example of the shared therapeutic space, whereby the transference theme is vividly and clearly described while at the same recognized as such and articulated from a distance. This space is constructed through the simultaneous existence of two frames, that of the client addressing his other from within the transference pattern and of the client addressing the therapist as the receiver of his discourse from a re exive position. While, in the beginning of the therapy, as demonstrated in the rst extract, the therapist is addressed as the other of the transference pattern, as the therapy progresses, another frame comes to being whereby the client increasingly adopts a re exive position, and the therapist takes on the corresponding addressee position of the witness of the clients discourse. The second extract was an example of the emergence of this frame through the construction of an intellectually aware I and the positioning of the therapist as a caring other through the employment of cultural assumptions about therapy. In this extract, the re exive frame constructs the therapist as an attentive listener, a pure witness of the clients utterances. Moreover, in this extract, the two frames co-exist within the same utterances while remaining relatively distinguishable. The client plays out the transference pattern with the therapist as its addressee and also addresses the therapist qua witness of his discourse. In other words, the I in this extract designates both the clients position within the transference and the client as re exively looking at this position; correspondingly, the you encompasses both the therapist as the other of transference and the therapist qua witness. This is enabled by the construction of joint signs in the intersubjective space between client and therapist. Notice how the client uses words which combine his unof cial discourse and the of cial discourse of therapy (to worship you, to feed you, to care for you). At this point, however, this distinction between the clients and the therapists words does not make sense, as the words of the clients frames of reference and the therapists more of cial psychotherapeutic frame have been picked up and used by both, resulting in a joint vocabulary through which the conversation unfolds. What is interesting here is the way the client uently combines and employs both vocabularies with ease, as if they were his own.

Voices of the self in psychotherapy The end of analysis: unfolding a complex subjectivity


This co-existence of the two frames is supplemented in the following extract with a more re exive position whereby the transference frame is described, commented upon and linked to the clients personal history. The following extract is typical of the last phase of analysis. Extract 4session 726
C: ... and its like in my anger part of me ... didnt and maybe still doesnt want to believe that, you know, my parents really did love me and, uh ... and I think that again goes back to this, needing this weird kind of satisfaction stuff that I got from my mother about it ... you get more satisfaction from feeling morally superior to other people than you do from feeling, uh, at one with them ... its like if I can maintain myself in a position, uh, an internal position that you really dont care about me, you pretended to care about me in this relationship for professional reasons ... and I think its a way for compensating ... you know, for the low self-esteem, or the ... the other thing I do, you know, putting myself in this ... its like you want the relationship to be ... uh, with you the superior and me the inferior... and so its like Ive got to nd some way to reverse those roles, uh, but probably without you knowing about them because that would just lead to a ght or something like that ... uh, so if I can nd some way to feel, you know, morally superior to you that ... T: um uhm C: its got to be some kind of coping mechanism ... and I think Ive overcome that to a large extent, but I think there is, there is still some residual material there

As with the previous extract, the transference themes are quite clearly and vividly articulated. This extract is, however, well beyond the mere playing out or exempli cation of transference patterns, as it contains a number of new elements that are characteristic of the end of analysis. Firstly, a degree of distance is established through the repeated its like, which classi es the statements as imaginary constructions, the mediation of the transferential positions by other I positions, as in if I can maintain myself in an internal position and the other thing I do is putting myself in this..., and the development of an over-arching re exive position with the repeated use of I think. Secondly, the pattern is recognized and talked about as a pattern. Thirdly, the origin of the pattern is identi ed as coming from the clients past and particularly linked to his mother. Notice the shift from the past to the present tense (didnt and maybe still doesnt), which not only traces the origin of the pattern in the past but also accounts for its existence in the present, therefore producing a continuity in the clients personal history. Fourthly, there is a strong evaluative attitude towards the material produced (this weird kind of satisfaction stuff), which implies a separate, re exive subject position from which the content of the statement can be evaluated. Finally, the account is interspersed with a commentary on the psychological signi cance of maintaining the pattern, using psychotherapeutic terminology (its a way for compensating for the low self-esteem, its got to be some kind of coping mechanism). At this point, the client is not only employing with ease a selfre exive observing position, but has also incorporated the position of the therapist in voicing therapeutic diagnoses of himself. The extract, moreoever, ends with an overall


Eugenie Georgaca

evaluation of the progress made in overcoming the pattern, again in psychotherapeutic terminology. All these elements establish more distance between the re exive I and the subject positions of the transference pattern. What I think is extraordinary in this extract is not the ability to intellectually re ect on oneself, which was also found in previous extracts, but the coordination, exibility, and ability to move with ease between positions while retaining a re exive stance. To conclude... In this paper, I attempted to bring together the Lacanian view of subjectivity and Bakhtins concept of dialogism to theorize the self as a constellation of dialogically structured subject positions enacted in the intersubjective space of the persons relations with others. I argued that the psychoanalytic concept of transference, understood as a semiotic process of articulating patterns of dialogic addressee addressee relations which derive from relations with early important others, provides the link between the unfolding subjectivity in the present and its historical continuity and bridges the spatial and temporal dimensions of the subjective multiplicity. I demonstrated the articulation of these transference patterns in the clients speech and traced their gradual recognition through the emergence of re exive subjective positions. The last extract is an illustrative example of the uent interplay of subject positions, including a re exive position, which, as I argued earlier, should be the aim of therapy. This paper is part of a long-standing project on ways of linking together a theoretical perspective on subjective multiplicity with the development of analytical tools for the empirical investigation of the articulation of subjectivity in speech (Georgaca & Gordo Lopez, 1995, 1996). Of course, no conclusive arguments can be drawn from an analysis of such restricted numbers of extracts. However, this attempt at a micro-analysis of the unfolding of subjective multiplicity might be considered a response to calls for qualitative research on subjectivity and psychotherapy, which respects the openness and mutual construction of meanings and positions (Parker, 1999) and, consequently, a contribution to an emerging paradigm in psychotherapy process research. A cknow ledgements
I am grateful to Dr L. Horwitz for kindly allowing me access to transcripts from psychotherapy sessions conducted at the Menninger Clinic. The views presented in this paper and the analysis of the transcripts re ect my own perspective on subjectivity and psychotherapyand should not be attributed to the therapist or the researchers who initially analysed these sessions (Horwitz et al., 1996). I also wish to thank Ian Parker, David Harper, Sean Homer, and Mikael Leiman for their invaluable feedback on earlier versions of this paper.

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