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Galdi, G. (2007). The Analytic Encounter, A Scene of Clashing Cultures. Am. J. Psychoanal., 67(1):4-21.

(2007). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 67(1):4-21

The Analytic Encounter, A Scene of Clashing Cultures

Giselle Galdi, Ph.D.

Three wars (WWII, the Vietnam War and the Iraq War) as well as the experience of immigration impacted on the analytic situation as described in this paper. A first generation immigrant patient, who was also a Vietnam veteran, and the immigrant analyst came together in harmony and in discord, around the issues of their common experiences of war and being an immigrant. The onset of the Iraq war brought these issues into a sharp focus in the mid-phase of an ongoing analysis. The paper explores how countertransferential experiences of war and immigration were used to further analytic work. It is often assumed that analogous external experiences can give rise to greater empathic understanding on the part of the analyst. In this paper, I hope to demonstrate that there are both advantages and serious pitfalls in experiential overlaps between the cultural experiences of the analyst and patient.

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