Sunday, November 3, 2013

Jean Knox - The Analyst's Capacity for Empathy

"So for the psychotherapist, empathy in its widest sense requires us to develop four different skills at the same time:
  • to allow emotional contagion, to share, through the countertransference, the shame and humiliation of the patient as a victim;
  • to be able to distance ourselves from that contagion, to take our own perspective and ‘feel for’ the patient, drawing on a range of affect-regulating approaches—an appropriate rescuer stance;
  • to bear and so contain the experience of being seen as and sometimes becoming an abuser without a defensive escape into a defensive and unhelpful rescuer position, and
  • finally to co-create a new relational experience in which both therapist and patient collaborate to ‘toggle’ between self and other perspectives, and in doing so, co-construct the intersubjective third.

All of these contribute to processes of rupture and repair that constitute the therapeutic conversation when working with early relational trauma." (p. 504-505)
Jean Knox (2013) ‘Feeling for’ and ‘feeling with’: developmental and neuroscientific perspectives on intersubjectivity and empathy.  Journal of Analytical Psychology, 2013, Vol. 58, pp. 491-509.

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