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Kafka, H. (1992). To Cure or to Heal? A Clinical and Theoretical Study of Healing Processes within Psychoanalysis. Int. Forum Psychoanal., 1(2):110-118.

(1992). International Forum of Psychoanalysis, 1(2):110-118

To Cure or to Heal? A Clinical and Theoretical Study of Healing Processes within Psychoanalysis:

Helene Kafka, Ph.D.

The notion of cure in psychoanalysis both discounts irreparable wounds and discards painful life experiences of many people. Cure also implies getting rid of the darker sides of the self. In contrast, healing aims to restore not only the patient's sense of self, but of “selfhood”: the continuity of the person's life in relation to others, society and the environment. In conjunction with analysis of transference and countertransferences, healing employs all that is currently known about the development of the self—from research on infancy, learning and cognition to studies on imagery, pain, health and the immunological system. Healing occurs when the analyst, utilizing these teachings, participates in the analysand's integration of the many facets of self. My focus is the therapeutic dyad as the healing agency. With case vignettes, I illustrate how the analyst, mindful of countertransference reactions, can move fluidly from positions of neutrality to those of compassionate advocate of growth and inner balance.

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