As you sit with your patients, do you sometimes find yourself at a loss for words? From moment to moment, we are continuously making choices about how best to position ourselves in relation to our patients. In truth, most of our patients are “conflicted” about most things most of the time. Whether working within the interpretive perspective of classical psychoanalytic theory, the corrective-provision perspective of self psychology, or the intersubjective perspective of contemporary relational theory, we are therefore ever busy deciding when we should highlight the healthy forces within patients that are pressing “yes” and when we should target the unhealthy (resistive) counterforces that are defending “no.” When should we “be with them where they are” and when should we “direct their attention to elsewhere”? – or can we perhaps do both at the same time? With our finger ever on the pulse of the level of the patient’s anxiety, we are indeed always focused on whether we think the patient will be able to tolerate further (anxiety-provoking) challenge and/or will require additional (anxiety-assuaging) support – a critically important balance that is necessary if the analytic endeavor is to be advanced. To demonstrate the translation of these theoretical constructs into clinical practice, I will be proposing a universally applicable intervention that targets the patient’s state of internal dividedness or conflictedness – between healthy but anxiety-provoking forces pressing for “something new and better” and less healthy but anxiety-assuaging (defensive) counterforces insisting upon “same old same old.” Brief and more extended clinical vignettes will be offered that demonstrate use of these optimally stressful “conflict statements” that are specifically designed to facilitate development of the patient’s dual awareness. If indeed the analytic goal is deep, enduring, characterological change, then it behooves all of us to become comfortable with the concept of provoking – with our interventions – enough incentivizing anxiety and destabilizing stress that there will be both impetus and opportunity for the patient, ultimately, to transform rigid defense into more flexible adaptation. The strategic formulation of interpretations specifically designed to generate this optimal stress is indeed both an art and a science.