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Yerushalmi, H. (2001). Psychoanalysts' Multiple Relational Perspectives. Psychoanal Q., 70(2):359-386.

(2001). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 70(2):359-386

Psychoanalysts' Multiple Relational Perspectives

Hanoch Yerushalmi, Ph.D.

The specific contribution of the person of the analyst—his or her attitudes, fantasies, and entire range of emotional responses to the patient—have become the subject of much investigation in psychoanalytic literature. This paper describes the phenomenon of distinct and sometimes contradictory selfexperiences in analysts that develop as part of the moment-to-moment process of a predominantly adaptive coping mechanism. It is suggested that at any given point, the analyst's perspectives (reflecting various self-states), like those of the patient, are multiple, and that the analyst “chooses” to place one such perspective at the center of experience. By choosing a certain self-state, the analyst can adopt, for example, a warm and loving stance with a regressed and demanding patient, or become harsh (e.g., setting boundaries, ending a session) with one who seeks affection and protection.

This paper also suggests that the capacity to move between versions of self-states, to see them as complementary even when they are paradoxical, promotes a deeper understanding of paradoxes in the personality of the patient. Only when the analyst maintains a dialogue between various dissociated aspects of his or her analytic experience can a dialogue of this kind begin in the patient.

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