"Anna" and the Panel of Psychological Inquiry: The Critic's Perspective
Keywords:panels of psychological inquiry, quasi-judicial method, jury hearing, case study, clinical case study
AbstractWith an acknowledgment of the difficulty of evaluating the intricacies and implications of any intensely subjective interaction, the critic’s function was conceived as dialectical rather than adversarial. Instead of a sustained attack directed against the therapist, this critical effort was formulated as a set of questions, reflections, perplexities, and suggestions designed to create opportunities for a deeper understanding of the intervention. Because the therapy under consideration so conscientiously depicted its work as an act of authentic concern, repeated attempts were made to understand the role that counter-transference played in the unfolding of the therapeutic relationship, an investigative orientation that led to the following overarching question: Is it possible that some of the clinician’s great therapeutic strengths, her reservoir of good will, her emotional attunement, her desire to be helpful, her capacity to be moved by the suffering of others, might also to some extent have undermined her therapeutic intent? Embedded in an understanding of psychotherapy as an activity of disappearance in which the therapist disappears by existing solely for the patient, the critical dialectic sought to access this paradoxical vitality in ways that might challenge the loving disappearance of the therapist without losing sight of her poignant contribution to the Freudian project of insightful, compassionate care protected against the unimaginative treatment of both physicians and priests.
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