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Slavin, J.H. (2012). It is All Personal: Further Thoughts on Therapeutic Action: Commentary on Paper by Noelle Burton. Psychoanal. Dial., 22(6):679-686.

(2012). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 22(6):679-686

It is All Personal: Further Thoughts on Therapeutic Action: Commentary on Paper by Noelle Burton

Jonathan H. Slavin, ABPP

This paper concurs with Noelle Burton's view that the actual transactions that occur between analyst and patient engender change within the psychic structure of both parties. But how does the “outside” get inside, changing the mind and even the communication patterns in the brain? This paper describes how this may occur—as Burton's work demonstrates—through the elaboration of experiences of personal agency within the mind in the context of malleable relational experiences. In addition, the paper raises the question of whether a more comprehensive understanding of this process also renders distinctions often made in analytic discussion between “personal” and “analytic” expression no longer meaningful or useful. In this context, the question of “self-disclosure” must be also reformulated as part of a fully professional, disciplined, if sometimes unconscious, analytic responsiveness, and not some split-off eruption that may or may not have coincidental positive therapeutic effect.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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