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Fosshage, J.L. (2011). The Use and Impact of the Analyst's Subjectivity with Empathic and other Listening/Experiencing Perspectives. Psychoanal Q., 80(1):139-160.

(2011). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 80(1):139-160

The Use and Impact of the Analyst's Subjectivity with Empathic and other Listening/Experiencing Perspectives

James L. Fosshage

As part of the epistemological transition from positivistic to relativistic science that had begun earlier in the twentieth century, Kohut (e.g., 1959, 1977, 1982, 1984) attempted to update psychoanalytic thinking in formulating the empathic mode of observation. The purpose of this paper is to reassess, through a conceptual and historical lens, the considerable controversy generated by the empathic perspective. The author specifically addresses constructivist philosophical underpinnings, the use and impact of the analyst's subjectivity, the inclusion of unconscious processes, the need for additional listening perspectives, and the influence of theoretical models in the organization of empathically acquired data. An illustrative clinical vignette is discussed.

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