The analyst's subjectivity and the analyst's objectivity.Int J Psychoanal. 1998 Jun; 79 (Pt 3):487-97.IJ
The author suggests that, increasingly, contemporary psychoanalysts have been acknowledging and examining the intersubjectivity of the clinical encounter and that this trend has sometimes been misunderstood as necessitating the conclusion that objectivity is impossible to achieve in clinical psychoanalysis. In contrast to this, the author proposes a pragmatic definition of the analyst's objectivity that is entirely consistent with acceptance of the analyst's irreducible subjectivity, and illustrates his view by means of a clinical example. He suggests that objectivity concerns both objects and objectives, and indicates that a pragmatic conception of objectivity is employed throughout modern science. He explains why he regards psychoanalysis as a science, rather than as a hermeneutic discipline. He takes up the way in which implicit positivist assumptions can disadvantageously influence our thinking about the relation between an analyst's subjectivity and an analyst's objectivity. Finally, he discusses the important role of consensus in objectivity generally and in psychoanalytic objectivity particularly, as well as some of the differences that exist among analysts with regard to the specific objectives that take priority in clinical work.