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Våpenstad, E.V. (2012). A Temperate Presence: The Meaning of Subjectivity and Neutrality in Classical and Contemporary Psychoanalysis. Scand. Psychoanal. Rev., 35(2):82-93.

(2012). Scandinavian Psychoanalytic Review, 35(2):82-93

A Temperate Presence: The Meaning of Subjectivity and Neutrality in Classical and Contemporary Psychoanalysis

Eystein Victor Våpenstad

Psychoanalytic concepts could be regarded as sensitizing concepts. They are not definite but point in a direction. The concepts of “classical,” “contemporary,” “neutrality” and “subjectivity” could sensitize in different directions. This paper tries to describe and compare how the concepts of “neutrality” and “subjectivity” embrace different meanings and values, and sensitize differently in classical and modern psychoanalysis. The development of the concepts of “neutrality” and “subjectivity” is described and discussed through a distinction between two different movements. The first movement is marked by a defence of concepts such as “neutrality” and “abstinence”. The second movement is characterised by its interest in the relational aspects of psychoanalysis, including the analyst's own subjective participation. The discussion concludes that modern psychoanalysis should be described as a temperate presence by the analyst; a disciplined activity in a new key. Neutrality can only survive as a psychoanalytic concept through its inclusion in the analyst's subjectivity.

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