What Works in Counseling, Psychotherapy, and Psychoanalysis: Attend to Learned Experience Across the Life Span

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. Particularly important in this regard, is the clinician’s ability to explore how interpersonal experiences across the life span shape the templates through which people filter their emotions, behaviors, and thinking patterns – and how these filters affect their relationships with significant others in particular.