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Steinberg, M. (2011). The Perversion of Attunement: Fundamentals Gone Awry in the Service of an Ideal. Int. J. Psychoanal. Self Psychol., 6(3):437-439.

(2011). International Journal of Psychoanalytic Self Psychology, 6(3):437-439

The Perversion of Attunement: Fundamentals Gone Awry in the Service of an Ideal

Marcia Steinberg, Psy.D.

Kohut's theory of cure rested on the centrality of the analyst's empathically attuned immersion in the patient's inner life. Salient to this idea was that along the bumpy, clinical road, the analyst at times would fail miserably in his or her attempt to empathize, as attempting to know the feelings of another is, at best, a sloppy affair, with even the best of the yield providing a mere approximation of what is inside the patient's lining. The analysis of the archaic wishes and longings that are activated in these inevitable miscarriages becomes the fulcrum of the unfolding treatment. Over time, with sufficient mutual curiosity and careful exploration of the analyst's failure, the neglect under investigation loses its wattage, and trust in the analyst as a beneficent selfobject is ultimately restored.

[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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