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Shane, E. Brothers, D. (2017). Epilogue: The Ethical Turn. Psychoanal. Inq., 37(6):429-432.

(2017). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 37(6):429-432


Epilogue: The Ethical Turn

Estelle Shane, Ph.D. and Doris Brothers, Ph.D.

The remarkable collection of articles that comprise this issue on The Ethical Turn in psychoanalysis shares a common theme, their concern with the ethical dimension of the relationship existing between patient and therapist; as well as a common orientation, their appreciation for the contextual, the intersubjective, and the perspectival in contemporary relational theory and practice; and, finally, a commitment to the uncertainty, multidimensionality, and contrite fallibilism that pervades our work.

But within all that commonality, the articles offer the reader a diversity of original and stimulating ideas, ideas that inevitably invoke thought and controversy. Perhaps one might not always agree with the positions put forward, but one cannot argue with the clarity and passion with which they have been presented, nor with the essential importance of their arguments.

The issue begins with “The Vulnerability of Giving: Ethics and the Generosity of Receiving,” Peter Shabad’s moving conception of a state of communion in the therapeutic relationship, a transcendent moment for both the generously receiving self and the gratefully giving other as the analyst affords to the patient a vital and necessary sense of the dignity born of giving of himself. Shabad’s article reveals the importance and the multiple challenges inherent in genuine receiving from the other, the need to, as he says, surrender dominion and acknowledge lack, and to reveal one’s own dependence on relationships with others so that the vital lie of self-containment and self-sufficient narcissism is breached.

[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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