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Schwaber, E. (1981). Empathy: A Mode of Analytic Listening. Psychoanal. Inq., 1(3):357-392.

(1981). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 1(3):357-392

Empathy: A Mode of Analytic Listening

Evelyne Schwaber, M.D.

If the historian will submit himself to his material instead of trying to impose himself on his material, then the material will ultimately speak to him and supply the answers.

— Barbara Tuchman, In Search of History

As different theoretical models arrive on the psychoanalytic scene, it becomes more critical to maintain at the forefront of our efforts the elucidation of how we gather the data of depth psychology. Thus, the recent exploration of the concept of empathy is a welcome pursuit. However, considerable ambiguity, multidirectional and oft-times value-laden meaning has arisen regarding this concept, perhaps catalyzed by work with patients representing widening realms of psychopathology. Outside the clinical situation (and within as well), empathy has been described as a mode of human relatedness; as a way of understanding, knowing and responding; and as an early and ubiquitous developmental nutrient.

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