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Hayes, G.E. (1994). Empathy: A Conceptual and Clinical Deconstruction. Psychoanal. Dial., 4(3):409-424.

(1994). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 4(3):409-424

Empathy: A Conceptual and Clinical Deconstruction Related Papers

Gary E. Hayes, Ph.D.

Empathy has come to occupy a central place in much discourse on psychoanalytic theory and practice. Since empathy is fundamental to how data are obtained and interpreted within psychoanalysis, it is essential to understand its relationship to the assumptions underlying any psychoanalytic epistemology. This paper examines some of the epistemological issues involved in Kohut's view of empathy as a mode of inquiry. The Kohutian view of empathy is contrasted with the understanding of empathy employed by Harry Stack Sullivan and the epistemology of American pragmatism. The epistemology inherent in empathy as a mode of inquiry is then clarified in relation to hermeneutics, phenomenology, structuralism, and deconstruction. The paper concludes with a case example to illustrate the clinical implications of the particular meaning of empathy as a mode of inquiry.

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