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Spence, D.P. (1988). Discussion. Contemp. Psychoanal., 24:594-597.
    

(1988). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 24:594-597

Discussion

Donald P. Spence, Ph.D.

I WANT TO TAKE YOU BACK IN time to the beginning of Dr. Moses' presentation. Try to remember again just how you felt when you listened to his account of the patient who was offered house paint masquerading as medicine. I think each of us reacted in our own special fashion, and this reaction has a lot to do with your understanding of the incident. If you shuddered at the patient's story, wincing at the thought of swallowing house paint, you can empathize with Dr. Moses' shudder and with his statement to the patient that she must have felt terrible, helpless, and hopeless. It all seems to follow a natural course of events. But if you could not believe the patient and her story, you might decide that the therapist was taken in by some kind of fantasy. His intervention makes no sense and the patient was clearly misunderstood.

Empathy,

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