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Trop, J.L. Stolorow, R.D. (1991). A Developmental Perspective on Analytic Empathy: A Case Study. J. Amer. Acad. Psychoanal., 19(1):31-46.

(1991). Journal of American Academy of Psychoanalysis, 19(1):31-46

A Developmental Perspective on Analytic Empathy: A Case Study

Jeffrey L. Trop, M.D. and Robert D. Stolorow, Ph.D.

We are offering the following case presentation as an example of the developmental component of analytic empathy. A lengthy first phase of the analysis was marked by the establishment of what might be termed a “self-delineating selfobject transference,” in which the analyst's primary function was to help the patient articulate and develop trust in the validity of his own subjective reality. During this phase, the self-restorative function of the patient's homosexual enactments was a focus of intensive analytic investigation and working through. In the second phase, ushered in by a negative therapeutic reaction, the transference shifted toward an idealizing one in which the patient needed the analyst to help him confront his fears of women. During this phase, still ongoing, the patient's defensive retreats from heterosexual involvements became a central focus of the analysis. As will be seen, the developmental changes in the patient's psychological organization and in the transference necessitated significant readjustments in the analyst's analytic listening and mode of therapeutic intervention. These clinical observations lead us, in the discussion section, to a brief consideration of the nature of analytic empathy, including its relationship to defense analysis.


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