• cancer;
  • Kleinian psychoanalysis;
  • listening;
  • supervision;
  • liaison;
  • mental health nursing;
  • paradigmatic changes;
  • Anne Sexton

‘The Awful Rowing Toward God’: therapeutic conversations with a woman following major surgery¶ Listening is a complex event requiring skills and competencies that encompass the personhood of the listener. This paper explores a clinical conversation with a woman experiencing serious illness. The ideas of Klein offer the theoretical means for understanding exchanges. Reflexivity is addressed through exploring the writer’s thoughts and feelings in response to significant events. The benefits of supervision, as support and guidance, are discussed in context. The discussion concludes with the suggestion that although many layers of interpretation are possible, and can be informed by various ways of knowing, the act of listening offers potential benefits.