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Ginsburg, S.A. (1992). Contemporary Psychoanalysis. XXVII, 1991: A Philosophy for the Embedded Analyst: Gadamer's Hermeneutics and the Social Paradigm of Psychoanalysis. Donnel B. Stern. Pp. 51-80.. Psychoanal Q., 61:510.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Contemporary Psychoanalysis. XXVII, 1991: A Philosophy for the Embedded Analyst: Gadamer's Hermeneutics and the Social Paradigm of Psychoanalysis. Donnel B. Stern. Pp. 51-80.

(1992). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 61:510

Contemporary Psychoanalysis. XXVII, 1991: A Philosophy for the Embedded Analyst: Gadamer's Hermeneutics and the Social Paradigm of Psychoanalysis. Donnel B. Stern. Pp. 51-80.

Sybil A.Y. Ginsburg

Stern states that "analyst and patient are both participants" in the analytic process. How, then, does one "know" truths about an analysand? What is the nature of clinical understanding? The author turns to the work of Gadamer, a philosopher who studied hermeneutics (defined as "the study of the process of understanding"). According to Gadamer, "meaning" is dependent upon linguistic expression, and "prejudice" is the source of new experience. (Stern likens "prejudice" to the clinical concept of "countertransference.") Gadamer believes that language gains meaning only through being spoken, and Stern believes that clinical understanding occurs only in the context of an interactive therapeutic relationship. We must always approach the analytic relationship as an uncertainty, a hypothesis. As the relationship develops and traditions (i.e., prejudices) are shared, analysis takes place "at the edge of what the participants know." The author believes, though Gadamer would not agree, that empathy happens when "a preconception and its alternative can be differentiated." Stern also discusses the work of two other hermeneuticists, Habermas and Schafer.

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Article Citation

Ginsburg, S.A. (1992). Contemporary Psychoanalysis. XXVII, 1991. Psychoanal. Q., 61:510

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