Contributions to a panel on The Role of Empathy in the Psychoanalytic Process by Jacob Arlow

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Introduction by Sheldon Goodman:
I would like to commence this introduction to Jacob Arlow’s paper on “Empathy” by picking-up on his description of the nature of empathy.
Empathy is a mode of operation that attempts to capture the patients inner life and requires the analyst to draw out of themselves a state of experience that somewhat approximates that of the patients.
Listening commands the analyst to be free from urges to do or say something, an idea that often runs contrary to much of our clinical training and to our prevailing culture. 
Many patients behave in sessions as in their lives, as if no one responded to them in infancy with any degree of affect attunement. Empathic understanding of the patient is much more than simply the sharing of affects. it involves the analyst identifying with the object of the analysand’s agency. 
A therapists empathic skills that develops over many years represent more than accumulated knowledge . It is enhanced by the capacity to maintain an objective and positively tinged identification with  the person he is sharing the room with. If this does not take place it becomes an onerous burden. We must spell out exactly what is Freudian and try to encompass the changes that have  entered into larger theory in order to try and preserve some scientific integrity.
Sheldon .Goodman, Ph.D.
Explore posts in the same categories: Arlow Unpublished Papers, Papers

One Comment on “Contributions to a panel on The Role of Empathy in the Psychoanalytic Process by Jacob Arlow”

  1. Edwin Rutsch Says:


    May I suggest a further resource to learn more about empathy and compassion.
    The Center for Building a Culture of Empathy
    The Culture of Empathy website is the largest internet portal for resources and information about the values of empathy and compassion. It contains articles, conferences, definitions, experts, history, interviews,  videos, science and much more about empathy and compassion.

    Also, I invite you to post a link to your article about empathy to our Empathy Center Facebook page.

    I posted a link to your article in our
    Empathy and Compassion Magazine
    The latest news about empathy and compassion from around the world

    I’d like to invite you to
    do an interview via Skype with me &
    lead an empathy panel in our:
    International Online Conference on:
    How Can We Build a Culture of Empathy and Compassion?

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