The concept of therapeutic alliance is revised by asking whether there is a uniquely psychoanalytic work that a patient can consciously carry out, such that we can say, "This patient is really working at being analyzed." The challenge is to find the patient’s work that collaborates with the special action of psychoanalysis. It is proposed that the special action of psychoanalysis, the feature that qualitatively distinguishes it from other talking treatments, is interruption of the patient’s effort. In order to imagine an incentive the patient might have to endorse his own frustration, some pictures of effort and interruption are reviewed. A tentative answer has to do with the value of time travel.
Keywords: Time, therapeutic action of psychoanalysis, therapeutic alliance, frame of psychotherapy, social construction of reality