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Klautau, P. Coelho, N. (2013). On psychic reality and neutrality: Empathy and the work of construction in countertransference. Int. Forum Psychoanal., 22(3):142-148.

(2013). International Forum of Psychoanalysis, 22(3):142-148

On psychic reality and neutrality: Empathy and the work of construction in countertransference

Perla Klautau and Nelson Coelho


The clinical challenges faced in encountering patients who do not fit the standard treatment of Oedipus conflicts clearly show the limitations of the interpretative method, thus making indispensable the study of clinical concepts and techniques as a way to broaden the psychoanalytic horizons. In order to analyse the different psychopathological problems resistant to traditional clinical approaches, it is necessary to reorganise the technique on the basis of a better understanding of the ways in which subjectivity is rooted in early psychic constitution. In this way, empathy becomes important as a clinical tool. The use of empathy must be understood as a decisive factor in handling clinical cases and situations in which the treatment encounters obstacles that restrict the power of the analyst's verbal interventions.In this case, can we say that the use of empathy interferes directly with and changes the position of the concept of psychic reality? Moreover, as we use empathy, can we also say that the concept of neutrality is transformed, without being abandoned? The intention of this paper is to discuss these questions using clinical material taken from the analysis of borderline clinical cases and situations.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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