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Fosshage, J.L. (1995). Countertransference as the Analyst's Experience of the Analysand: Influence of Listening Perspectives. Psychoanal. Psychol., 12(3):375-391.

(1995). Psychoanalytic Psychology, 12(3):375-391

Countertransference as the Analyst's Experience of the Analysand: Influence of Listening Perspectives

James L. Fosshage, Ph.D.

In addressing the analyst's experience of the analysand, countertransference is an ever-expanding construct. In keeping with the totalist perspective, I propose that the analyst's experience of the patient, instead of the term countertransference, more fully captures the complexity of the analyst's involvement and correctly places it as a central guide for inquiry and interventions. Our moment-to-moment experience of the patient is shaped not only by the patient, but also by our listening perspective, be it a subject- or other-centered vantage point, our models, and our subjectivities. The analyst experientially can resonate with the patient's affect and experience from within the patient's vantage point—that is, the subject-centered listening perspective (self psychology's emphasis); the analyst can experience the patient from the vantage point of the other person in a relationship with the patient, called the other-centered listening perspective (frequently the emphasis in object relations and interpersonal approaches). I am proposing that the analyst's listening from within and without, oscillating in a background–foreground configuration, can illuminate more fully the patient's experience of self and of self in relation to others.

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