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Tip: To review The Language of Psycho-Analysis…

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Prior to searching a specific psychoanalytic concept, you may first want to review The Language of Psycho-Analysis written by Laplanche & Pontalis. You can access it directly by clicking here.

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Issacharoff, A. (1984). Discussion. Contemp. Psychoanal., 20:59-64.

(1984). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 20:59-64


Amnon Issacharoff, M.D.

I WANT TO THANK DR. SPENCE for his clarity and his commitment. Two venerable instruments in our analytic repertoire—free floating attention and empathy—are described as a compromise between what the patient is trying to tell us and what we tend to put in the situation. And this compromise is seen as, at best, a naive delusion of understanding and, at worst, a gross misrepresentation of the patient's internal reality. Moreover, the misuse of these two instruments may lead to an indulgent attitude that endangers the rule of abstinence and may induce an acting-out of the therapist's countertransference.

This seems to be the thrust of Dr. Spence's message.

Let us consider first the issue of free-floating or evenly hovering attention. The image of a straw-man or emperor without clothes comes to mind. I am not sure what are we talking about and Dr.

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