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Gonchar, J. (1995). Psychoanalysis and Contemporary Thought. XV, 1992. Phenomenology of the Emerging Sense of Self. Richard D. Chessick. Pp. 57-88.. Psychoanal Q., 64:201.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Psychoanalysis and Contemporary Thought. XV, 1992. Phenomenology of the Emerging Sense of Self. Richard D. Chessick. Pp. 57-88.

(1995). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 64:201

Psychoanalysis and Contemporary Thought. XV, 1992. Phenomenology of the Emerging Sense of Self. Richard D. Chessick. Pp. 57-88.

Joel Gonchar

Chessick calls for adding a phenomenological approach to the ways in which clinicians look at their patients. He first discusses phenomenology, from its origins in philosophy to its applications to psychiatry and psychoanalysis. Phenomenology studies phenomena not merely as data or as matters of fact, but with an unprejudiced view as these phenomena are experienced. Chessick's central thesis is that the conditions with which we deal in current clinical practice are primarily preoedipal or borderline and have their origin in the period of development before speech is acquired. And it is precisely these conditions that respond best to a phenomenological approach, with its emphasis on getting in touch with what the patient experiences. The author presents clinical illustrations, as well as examples of this approach in the study both of self psychology and of infancy. Self psychology, with its focus on empathizing with the patient, epitomizes the phenomenological approach. This same focus stimulated a great deal of infant research. Chessick cites the work of Winnicott as an example of the phenomenological approach, and discusses both Kohut's and Stern's theories of the emergence of the sense of self. Finally, the work of the philosopher Merleau-Ponty is discussed and shown to be parallel.

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Article Citation

Gonchar, J. (1995). Psychoanalysis and Contemporary Thought. XV, 1992.. Psychoanal. Q., 64:201

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