Motivational Systems Theory as well as infant observational and attachment research point strongly to the importance of the therapist’s empathic attunement to what patients say and how they are saying it, and the clarity with which the analyst attends to adaptive and developmental strivings to that have been thwarted throughout a patient’s life. In particular, principles from Self Psychology direct the psychoanalyst to be with patients in a manner that expands mutual awareness and understanding of the emotional, behavioral, and thinking patterns both interactants bring to their exchange.

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An analyst’s or therapist’s lived experience inevitably invades the intersubjective space (where the Venn Diagram of the practitioner’s phenomenological/subjective, moment-to-moment experience intersects with patients). Years ago, this notion would be simply reduced to the ubiquity of what psychoanalysts first referred to as countertransference, the phenomenon that could be minimized by practitioners having spent hours on the “couch” themselves, so they could be “objective”, “scientific”, and be able to dust off the psychological detritus of the patient’s experience to illuminate truth in a sterile, surgically precise, and unbiased manner.

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What is a Pre-treatment Assessment and Why I do it?

After our initial 90-minute appointment, and assuming there is a good fit and connection between us, the next step in my process – whether for psychotherapy or psychoanalysis – is to do a more formal assessment using objective, normed, standardized, reliable, and valid measures of: Your problems in living (e.g., anxiety, depression, alcohol or substance use, etc.); Your interpersonal strengths; Your needs in relationships. Your characteristic way of construing or understanding the interpersonal world.

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