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Kuchuck, S. (2009). Do Ask, Do Tell? Narcissistic Need as a Determinant of Analyst Self-Disclosure. Psychoanal. Rev., 96(6):1007-1024.

(2009). Psychoanalytic Review, 96(6):1007-1024

Do Ask, Do Tell? Narcissistic Need as a Determinant of Analyst Self-Disclosure

Steven Kuchuck, LCSW

In its infancy, and certainly up to the middle of the last century and beyond, the psychoanalytic frame hinged on the assumption of a healthy analyst treating an ill patient. Two minds were engaged, but in the consulting room only one was deemed worthy of study. Countertransference problems, it was thought, would be mostly eliminated through one's training analysis. To the extent that some countertransference reactions remained, they were viewed as reactive to the patient's psychology and never to be acted upon or shared. In later years, induced and other countertransference responses were seen to provide valuable diagnostic information, but it was not until the mid-1980s and the beginning of the relational turn that this field of study would expand in any significant way.

Now, over the course of the past twenty years, psychoanalysis has been evolving from a one- to two-person psychology that examines not just the mind of the patient but that of the analyst as well (Mitchell, 1993). Intersubjectivity theory (Atwood & Stolorow, 1984) and its assumption that minds are by definition engaged in a constant cross-fertilization of mutual influence has brought us to the edge of a precipice.

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