The Case of Yael by Louis Breger, Ph.D.
To what extent is Lou’s narrative also concerned with Yael’s own articulate appreciation of his work? She not only indicates that she likes what Lou has done as a therapist, but provides a long list of specific therapeutic strategies, values and outcomes. Her list is much longer than that offered by other patients who wrote in Lou’s book about their work with him. How often do any of us get articulate, discerning feedback from those we serve? It is like the artist who is complimented by someone who really knows their work and can identify with precision particular positive (and negative) attributes in the artist’s work. Did Lou get this kind of feedback from Yael throughout the years in which he was working with her or did she become more articulate and more of an “expert” about therapy as she matured in her relationship with Lou. Did both of them grow older and wiser — and more entranced with one another — as the therapy progressed over many years (and even beyond the end of therapy). This mutual entrancement might be part of their joint narrative.
As we turn to the joint narrative, it is important to re-emphasize that inter-subjectivity requires a third party in the therapeutic process–this third party being the relationship itself. The resulting third narrative is co-constructed by the therapist and patient. While we don’t have an explicit third narrative for Lou and Yael, we can speculate on what this narrative might be. It is certainly a story about mutual respect and shifting relationships. They begin with a face-to-face engagement, then move to the couch (the more traditional psychoanalytic mode of engagement) and then back to face-to-face. They also continue to relate to one another (though sporadically) even after the therapeutic engagement has formally come to an end.