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Fishman, G.G. (1999). Knowing Another From a Dynamic Systems Point of View: The Need for a Multimodal Concept of Empathy. Psychoanal Q., 68(3):376-400.

(1999). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 68(3):376-400

Knowing Another From a Dynamic Systems Point of View: The Need for a Multimodal Concept of Empathy

George Ganick Fishman, M.D.

This paper explores the concept of empathy within the context of current debate regarding the advantages of an intersubjective versus an intrapsychic focus on the treatment process. The author explores the way in which dynamic systems theory, the parent of intersubjectivity, can potentially embrace the wisdom of both relational psychoanalysis and ego psychology. The ongoing analytic discourse is represented in two modes, by schematic and symbolic representations, which roughly correspond to the intersubjective and the intrapsychic record. Empathy is redefined as the enactive, imaginal, and interpretive efforts an analyst makes toward understanding both the schematic and symbolic discourse with her patient.

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