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Sonnenberg, S.M. (1991). The Analyst's Self-Analysis and its Impact on Clinical Work: A Comment on the Sources and Importance of Personal Insights. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 39:687-704.

(1991). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 39:687-704

The Analyst's Self-Analysis and its Impact on Clinical Work: A Comment on the Sources and Importance of Personal Insights

Stephen M. Sonnenberg, M.D.

ABSTRACT

In reviewing descriptions of self-analysis in the literature, as part of an ongoing inquiry into the nature and role of self-analysis in the life and work of the psychoanalyst, the author noted a focus on circumscribed self-analytic work, or on a method for self-analysis that did not stress its clinical relevance. Missing were descriptions of the encompassing, multi-sourced, multimotivated, interminable nature of self-analysis in the analyst's work life and personal life.

In response to those findings, the author focuses on the conduct of his self-analysis over a period of several months, following an illness experienced by his mother. He attempts to convey certain qualities of his self-analysis: it goes on all the time, it is variously fueled by experiences in and outside his consulting room, and it is practiced self-consciously and with self-discipline. He also describes the ways in which his self-analysis enhances his clinical effectiveness and promotes his personal growth, and notes that all of an analyst's experiences are interconnected opportunities for personal and professional development.

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