Essentially psychoanalytic psychotherapy is a conversation. It is, however, a conversation of a very special kind. Like an ordinary conversation, it takes place between two people. Two people sit in a room and talk. But unlike our everyday conversations, the psychotherapeutic conversation is not a symmetrical or even a mutual exchange. Rather, the conversation takes place only for the benefit of one of the participants. This person, furthermore, who also does most of the talking, does not engage in conversation for the usual reasons. He does not talk in order simply to inform, or amuse, or otherwise interact with the other individual—even though he might think this is why he’s speaking. Rather, the psychotherapeutic patient talks for the very specific purpose of eventually coming to hear his own words in a new and more psychologically pertinent or useful way. 1