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Rucker, N. (1994). Dr. Rucker Replies:. Am. J. Psychoanal., 54(4):370-372.

(1994). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 54(4):370-372

Dr. Rucker Replies:

Naomi Rucker, Ph.D.

The concerns expressed by Michael Robbins in response to my paper “Exploratory Thoughts on Wisdom, Intimacy, and Analytic Relatedness” address areas of potential difficulty that long have plagued psychoanalysis and toward which I also have had concern. Although his critique has my respectful consideration, I feel that is focus falls askew from my own perceptions of my writing and my intent in presenting this material. I appreciate the opportunity to reiterate and perhaps clarify my position.

As the title of my paper states, it was my aim to elucidate connections between wisdom, intimacy, and the psychoanalytic relationship in an exploratory fashion. I did not mean this paper to be a clearly defined position statement or a firm endorsement of dramatic changes in standard psychoanalytic technique. Rather, I hoped it would stimulate thoughtful discourse regarding the meaning of the psychoanalytic identity and the mode of relatedness. These are ideas; I am far from forming conclusions about their concrete technical implications.

Dr. Robbins’ first opening remark regarding my description of intimacy reflected an extreme interpretation of my statements. In no way did I intend this paper to advocate that we “abandon psychoanalysis,” as Dr. Robbins has inferred, or condone unprofessional behavior. I think there is, and there should be, a distinction between behavior and feelings that any responsible analyst recognizes. However, I do not believe that the type of “caring involvement” with patients that Dr. Robbins’ describes does justice to the depth and array of feelings that can transpire in an analysis, nor does it allow for the expression of authenticity that can often be critical in an analytic experience for both patient and analyst. The form of intimate connection to which I wished to refer need not be manifest in unrestrained self-disclosure on the part of the analyst or in extra-analytic interactions.

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