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Do psychoanalysts talk with their patients or do they remain silent?

Psychoanalysts when they are silent are focusing their careful listening skills on whatever thoughts, feelings, or expressions of imagination the patient is pursuing. A psychoanalyst indeed talks to offer an idea, a resonant note of feeling, a potential linking or “connecting the dots” to help patients bring their experience into meaningful focus. Part of an analyst’s skill is an intuitive sense of when silence offers a useful space for the patient’s thoughts to emerge freely, and when the analytic process may be helped to move forward by talking to the patient in ways that foster emotional connection, open the places where thoughts have become stuck or confusing, or ask a question that inspires curiosity.