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Lingiardi, V. Holmqvist, R. Safran, J. (2016). Relational Turn and Psychotherapy Research. Contemp. Psychoanal., 52(2):275-312.

(2016). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 52(2):275-312

Relational Turn and Psychotherapy Research

Vittorio Lingiardi, M.D., Rolf Holmqvist, Ph.D. and Jeremy D. Safran, Ph.D.

Psychoanalytic authors have traditionally been skeptical of nomothetic studies, in which group averages obscure the uniqueness of individual cases. Several relational psychoanalytic authors have expressed more pronounced skepticism, affirming, for example, that given the uniqueness of each therapist-patient dyad, systematic empirical research is particularly problematic. In this article we highlight the potential synergy between relational thinking and today's psychotherapy research, by exploring some of the ways in which the work of relational authors has influenced relational psychotherapy research, shifting the focus of study from validation of the models of treatment to the study of the clinical variables such as: countertransference, therapist empathy, self-disclosure, rupture and resolution in therapeutic alliance, intersubjective negotiation, and the patient-therapist attachment relationship. In conclusion, the aim of this article is to facilitate the dialogue between relational psychoanalysis and the field of psychotherapy research, by exploring ways in which these two different worlds can reciprocally stimulate and enrich one another.

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