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Teicholz, J.G. (2000). Chapter 3 The Analyst's Empathy, Subjectivity, and Authenticity: Affect as the Common Denominator. Progress in Self Psychology, 16:33-53.

(2000). Progress in Self Psychology, 16:33-53

Chapter 3 The Analyst's Empathy, Subjectivity, and Authenticity: Affect as the Common Denominator

Judith Guss Teicholz, ED.D.

The purpose of this chapter is to respond to a troubling critique of empathy that seems to pervade contemporary psychoanalytic literature. While the various authors of this critique generally problematize the analyst's empathy, they consider the authentic expression of the analyst's subjectivity to be essential both to the treatment process and to cure. The analyst's empathy seems almost to be replaced by her subjectivity, and therefore any attempt to address the current critique of empathy must also raise questions about the nature of the presumed, mutually exclusive relationship between the analyst's empathy and her subjectivity. For this reason, in what follows I respond to the critique of empathy in the context of examining the relationship between the analyst's empathy, subjectivity, and authenticity in the clinical situation.

Empathy, Subjectivity, and the Self

While empathy remains at the heart of self psychology, its clinical importance is often dismissed and devalued by analysts writing from outside a Kohutian perspective.

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