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Gieseke, W.D. (2019). RESPONSE TO JUDITH RUSTIN AND HEATHER FERGUSON’S “EXTENDING THE EMPATHIC GRASP IN THE TREATMENT OF ANOREXIA NERVOSA: ADDING A NEUROSCIENCE PERSPECTIVE”. Psychoanal. Self. Cxt., 14(3):317-322.

(2019). Psychoanalysis, Self, and Context, 14(3):317-322

RESPONSE TO JUDITH RUSTIN AND HEATHER FERGUSON’S “EXTENDING THE EMPATHIC GRASP IN THE TREATMENT OF ANOREXIA NERVOSA: ADDING A NEUROSCIENCE PERSPECTIVE”

William D. Gieseke, Ph.D.

Judith Rustin and Heather Ferguson’s article has two theses. The first thesis is that an understanding of neuroscience can help to convey a broader sense of empathy for the patient’s subjective experience. The second thesis is that an understanding of the neuroscience “brackets” or holds the therapist’s anxiety and their patient’s anxiety “in check.” This article makes a strong case for these theses. I question whether these two functions are enough to recommend adding a neuroscience perspective to the treatment of our patients. I would suggest it is not! My thesis is that only by using our knowledge of neuroscience to engage the brain/mind in the treatment will our therapeutic efforts have their most significant power and efficacy.

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