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October 2021

Beyond empathy

Journal/Book: Forum Psychoanal. 1999; 15: 175 Fifth Ave, New York, NY 10010, USA. Springer Verlag. 9-24.

Abstract: Although many psychoanalytic authors have concerned themselves with the phenomenon of empathy, the concept has remained ambigous. The various concepts of empathy that are often mentioned in the literature are summarized. In a digression, empathy is distinguished from projective identification and countertransference. After reflecting on reduced harmonizing variations of the concept, the inherent limitations of empathy are discussed. Empathy is understood as a specific quality of the analytic relationship. The other side of empathy is seen as the ''mystery of the others'' which always elutes their understanding. On this basis empathy is understood (1) as a necessary element of containing; (2) as myth and ideology; (3) as limited by the borders of knowledge set by the ''mystery of the other'' (Laplanche).

Note: Article Wellendorf F, Kuhsenbarg 6A, D-28870 Fischerhude, GERMANY

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