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Tip: To sort articles by source…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

After you perform a search, you can sort the articles by Source. This will rearrange the results of your search, displaying articles according to their appearance in journals and books. This feature is useful for tracing psychoanalytic concepts in a specific psychoanalytic tradition.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Anthi, P.R. (2001). Mellem Mennesker. Træk af indfølingens psykologi. (Between people. Traits of the psychology of empathy). Judy Gammelgaard. Copenhagen: Gads Forlag, 2000.. Scand. Psychoanal. Rev., 24(2):129-130.

(2001). Scandinavian Psychoanalytic Review, 24(2):129-130

Mellem Mennesker. Træk af indfølingens psykologi. (Between people. Traits of the psychology of empathy). Judy Gammelgaard. Copenhagen: Gads Forlag, 2000.

Review by:
Per R. Anthi

In its popular sense of the word, empathy refers to the ability to take part in the inner experience of another person. Freud (1921) considered empathy to be the mechanism by means of which we are enabled to take up any attitude at all towards another mental life (p. 110), and as the process which plays the largest part in our understanding of what is inherently foreign to our ego in other people (p. 108). He regarded empathy as a particular form of identification derived from some emotional commonality between subect and object. This view has been further elaborated and discussed by many analytic authors after Freud.

Gammelgaard's book on empathy represents an original contribution to our understanding of the complex processes involved in empathy. The book is divided into three main parts. Starting with a historical overview of the concept, the author elucidates empathy as a general psychological phenomenon. Following this, Gammelgaard relates empathy to specific circumstances in everyday life, psychoanalytic practice, and shows how our experience of art, literature and cinema is dependent on our capacity for empathising. I guess many analysts are surprised to learn that empathy is a term originally derived from the theory of aesthetics; the German philosopher and art theoretician, Theodore Lipps, was the first to introduce the concept. He defined the German expression Einfühlung as a specific mode of experiencing in which we attempt to grasp what a piece of art represents and expresses.

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