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Schoen, S. (2015). Afraid to Commit: Proposing Psychoanalysis and the Paradox of the Analyst's Desire. Contemp. Psychoanal., 51(4):649-679.

(2015). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 51(4):649-679

Afraid to Commit: Proposing Psychoanalysis and the Paradox of the Analyst's Desire

Sarah Schoen, Ph.D.

What makes us think of one patient as “analytic” and another one not? What is at stake when we make the case for the deep engagement fostered by a psychoanalysis? Using a clinical example, the author examines enactments in which the analyst unconsciously avoids substantive involvement with patients likely to entail contact with her most disavowed aspects of self. The importance of frequency is revisited given the contemporary foci on field theories and the ubiquitous influence of the analyst's subjectivity. The author argues that immersion in dyadic processes is required to understand why both participants may resist it. Epistemological shifts undermining objectivity and psychoanalysis’ diminished cultural prestige require the analyst to make the case for analysis. Yet, although the analyst's desire is necessary, her reliance on her individual sense of “fit” leaves her too dependent on each specific relational matrix to both express and protect her personal and professional selves.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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