Academic journal article Journal of Psychology and Theology

Sham, D. (2003). on the Therapeutic Action of Love

Academic journal article Journal of Psychology and Theology

Sham, D. (2003). on the Therapeutic Action of Love

Article excerpt

Vol. 30 (2), 251-278

The author argues that the heart of psychoanalysis constitutes a search, for both analysand and analyst, to remobilize capacities to give and receive love. The author asserts that analysts have long discussed feeling hate for clients and, more recently, feeling sexually attracted to them. Yet little discourse is paid to analysts' tender and affectionate feelings toward analysands. The author believe this is largely because expressions of tenderness to analysands are often interpreted as infantilization via the acting out of analysts' narcissistic needs to cure by posing as the impossibly perfect parent. The author asserts that such suspicions go beyond their appropriate safeguarding function and, rather, inhibit the development of thinking about analytic love.

Based on a review of several analytic theorists' emphasis on the role of love in development and pathology, the author argues that clinical technique should make therapeutic use of analysts' capacities to love authentically. In an attempt to define analytic love, the author provides two principles. As the first principle, the author draws from a statement by Loewald (1960): analysts must have "love and respect for the individual and for individual development." According to the author, this statement expresses that parental love is the birthright of children and that in no way are children intended to earn that love. In addition, the author believes that Loewald's statement communicates that analytic love is also comprised of faith in human potential. In other words, like the parent-child bond, the analytic relationship is a sacred haven in which analysands have a second chance to realize their vitality and authenticity potentials.

The second defining principle of analytic love highlighted by the author is a commitment to analysands' safety. …

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