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Maddux, H. (2018). MEETING OUR PATIENTS HALFWAY: TOWARD AN ETHIC OF CARE IN PSYCHOANALYSIS. Psychoanal. Self. Cxt., 13(3):205-219.

(2018). Psychoanalysis, Self, and Context, 13(3):205-219

Original Articles

MEETING OUR PATIENTS HALFWAY: TOWARD AN ETHIC OF CARE IN PSYCHOANALYSIS

Hilary Maddux, L.C.S.W.

The question of if, when, and how we “care for” our patients has been the subject of much debate within our field. While some hold the ethic of care in high regard and as central to our work with patients, others disparage it as, among other concerns, gratifying our patients, inhibiting their autonomy and agency, and demanding too much of us as clinicians. This paper traces, albeit briefly, the long history of “care,” while questioning whether the disparagement of care might be linked to holdovers from our psychoanalytic past, including the repudiation of all things feminine, soft, dependent, and vulnerable in favor of a more robust, masculinized theory. The paper searches for some deeper understanding of “care,” suggesting that it is care that provides the therapist (or, for that matter, anyone) the capacity to empathize – to mediate experience between self and other. Care, if practiced with care (and it should not be called care if it does not), propels the analyst to employ empathy both as a method of psychoanalytic investigation and data collection and as a force for healing itself.

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