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Sheiner, S. (1966). The Importance of Emotional Experiences in the Analytic Process. Am. J. Psychoanal., 26:88-90.

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(1966). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 26(1):88-90

The Importance of Emotional Experiences in the Analytic Process

Sara Sheiner, M.D.

Compiled and edited from lectures on Psychoanalytic Techniques given by the late Karen Horney at the American Institute for Psychoanalysis during the years 1946, 1950, 1951 and 1952. Further lectures in this series will appear in subsequent issues of the Journal.

The general attitude to the significance of emotional experiencing during the analytic process has changed over the years. At first it was felt that the recall of past events with emotion was the important factor. Later, the focus of emphasis was placed on the understanding of past events subsequent upon their being experienced. The curative effect was considered as being consequent upon the patient's reappraisal of the past through the use of his present mature judgment. A later shift led to the present position that insight accompanied by an emotional experience is beneficial and of more importance than intellectual insight. Today it is widely held that emotional experience is an essential factor in every analysis.

The feeling of strong emotions during analysis does not necessarily have a therapeutic effect. The experiencing of which Horney speaks has a totality and aliveness to it. At the time of experiencing, the entire being of the person is involved. Whatever is being experienced is done so in body, mind and feelings with an intense sense of unity, even when it is conflict that is being experienced. At such a time the person lives his feelings with intensity, clarity, commitment and an unshakable conviction about

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