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Stern, D.B. (2003). The Fusion of Horizons: Dissociation, Enactment, and Understanding. Psychoanal. Dial., 13(6):843-873.

(2003). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 13(6):843-873

The Fusion of Horizons: Dissociation, Enactment, and Understanding

Donnel B. Stern, Ph.D.

All understanding is context dependent, and one of the most significant contexts for clinical purposes is the self-state. How we understand the other, and ourselves, depends on the state(s) we occupy. Dissociations between an analyst's self-states can, therefore, limit or impede understanding of the analysand by depriving the analyst of a fitting context within which to grasp what the analysand says and does. Clinical understanding may require the breach of such dissociations. I lay out some of the implications of thinking about transference and countertransference along these lines, with detailed examples illustrating the consequences of the analyst's dissociations and their eventual resolutions. Among the advantages of this way of thinking is that it amounts to a psychoanalytic account of the hermeneutic circle.

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