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Sucharov, M.S. (2002). Representation and the Intrapsychic: Cartesian Barriers to Empathic Contact. Psychoanal. Inq., 22(5):686-707.

(2002). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 22(5):686-707

Representation and the Intrapsychic: Cartesian Barriers to Empathic Contact

Maxwell S. Sucharov, M.D.

This paper argues for a radical relational perspective that explicitly challenges the notion of the intrapsychic and the related Cartesian assumptions of representationalism. Conceptual tools derived from the school of embodied cognition provide an alternative theoretical language that depicts a new understanding of experience as an emergent and distributed phenomenon of a dialogic communicative system. Clinical vignettes illustrate how this new ontology of experience promotes a therapeutic ambience that dissolves the barriers to empathic contact imposed by the retention of representational modes of thought.

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