Chicago Psychoanalytic Society
Scientific Presentation


The Interpretive Processing of Clinical Data:
Problems and Progress

October 26, 1999

Pritzker Auditorium
Northwestern Memorial Hospital
7:30 PM

Presenter: Philip F. E. Rubovits-Seitz, M.D.

This essay focuses on a crucial phase of the interpretive process, the data-processing strategies and operations that cognitively transform clinical data and information into latent meanings and determinant which are unique to the individual patient at a given time. Rather than attempting to review all of the diverse processing operations, the author selects several important and problematic examples for detailed discussion and illustration: pattern seeking, thematization, and clinical inference. A clinical method of investigating data processing, the retrospective "unpacking" or "naturalizing" of therapy sessions is described and illustrated. The author stresses also that we can learn a great deal from various other disciplines whose methods of studying cognitive processing supplement our own. Does detailed knowledge of the preconscious processes that underlie clinical interpretations make therapists better interpreters? The author suggests that the more we can learn about methods of cognitive transformation, and the more we can make such information part of our clinical interpretive knowledge base, the more likely we are to draw on and use that knowledge preconsciously in depth-psychological understanding of our patients.


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