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Tip: To sort articles by year…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

After you perform a search, you can sort the articles by Year. This will rearrange the results of your search chronologically, displaying the earliest published articles first. This feature is useful to trace the development of a specific psychoanalytic concept through time.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Cohen, J.L. (2002). Is It Okay to Breathe? Asserting Subjectivity in the Therapeutic Relationship. Psychoanal. Dial., 12(4):599-619.

(2002). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 12(4):599-619

Is It Okay to Breathe? Asserting Subjectivity in the Therapeutic Relationship Related Papers

Jackie L. Cohen, C.S.W., M.Ed.

This paper addresses how to be an available and responsive therapist to a controlling and narcissistically vulnerable young girl. It presents an overview of the treatment relationship and specific vignettes from sessions. The paper describes an impasse that posed a quandary: how to find a balance between staying in control of the treatment while being responsive to the kind of object the child needs the therapist to be—being empathic without being intrusive—and meeting her aggression without getting into a power struggle. The author discusses how asserting her subjectivity by playfully role-playing aspects of the patient, by spontaneously using humor, and by surviving her destructiveness allows the treatment to move forward. Trial and error, reflection on practice, and informed intuition contributed to the author's understanding of the child and of the transference. Various theoretical perspectives influenced the work.

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