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Weisel-Barth, J. (2019). Introduction to Chicago Issue. Psychoanal. Self. Cxt., 14(3):231.

(2019). Psychoanalysis, Self, and Context, 14(3):231


Introduction to Chicago Issue

by Joye Weisel-Barth, Ph.D., Psy.D.

With pleasure, I’m presenting in this issue a sampling of the knowledgeable, thoughtful, clinically sophisticated, and deeply felt papers from the Chicago Self Psychology Conference in 2017. Given the many wonderful papers presented there, what were my criteria for selecting papers for this volume? First, in surveying the offerings, I looked for papers that addressed the conference theme: Empathic Depths and Relational Leaps. As always, I was reminded and surprised by the profound meaning and reach of empathy in analytic treatment. Most of the papers here demonstrate how empathy both rests at the basis of the authors’ theoretical ideas and functions in the construction and unfolding of their clinical experience. Then, I included papers that either extend relational self-psychological ideas to other fields and pursuits or draw from other fields to augment self-psychological thinking. Finally, I chose inspiring stories to illustrate analytic concepts. Good clinical stories capture the life and layers of psychoanalytic ideas and experience. The stories here emphasize the analyst’s subjectivity in constructing mutual relationships as they and their patients construct psychoanalytic treatments. They also often describe the analyst’s development under the influence of Heinz Kohut’s transformational notions.

Let me briefly speak to two papers that aren’t in this issue. Richard Geist’s Kohut Memorial Talk regretfully will appear in another journal. His lovely talk traces his own transition from classical thinking to early encounters with Kohutian ideas, to important relationships with our first generation self psychologists, and finally to a settled and expansive self-psychological position. This trajectory from ego psychology to the discovery of Kohutian empathy and self-object transferences are repeated in many of the papers included in the issue. In addition, Jeffrey Stern’s fascinating and controversial case presentation at the conference will be featured in a future issue of “Psychoanalysis, Self and Context.”

Please enjoy the papers. I hope they not only provide pleasure in their own right but also contain helpful and enlightening ideas for clinical practice.

[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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