This article reviews Communicative psychoanalysis. It becomes clear that key Communicative concepts such as ‘derivatives’ and ‘the frame’ have been defined ambiguously or in a contradictory fashion. There has also been a failure to set out what the central claims of Communicative psychoanalysis mean in terms of observable data. In order to avoid circular argumentation and rhetoric, and to embark on sound experimentation, it is vital for Communicative psychoanalysis to address these issues. The article outlines a way in which in which such a project might be taken forward. In particular, it is suggested that the notion of ‘derivatives’ can be recast in terms of the skewing of sets of narratives and behavioural interactions towards analogical correspondence with the therapeutic situation. This allows (a) consideration of how claims that such phenomena are prevalent might be investigated, and (b) clarification and assessment of claims for ‘the secure frame’. The article clarifies some of the logical links and disjunctions between various theoretical constructions of Communicative psychoanalysis so that unjustified presumptions and assumptions can be avoided in future. In addition, some of the common ground between Communicative theory and certain hypotheses in small group psychology is highlighted. Further lines of research are suggested both by the essential similarities and by the differences between findings in these two fields.