chapter  18
10 Pages

Countertransference, Empathy, and the Hermeneutical Circle

If Thou is said, the I of the combination I-Thou is said along with it. Buber, I and Thou

. . . a human being who actually exists must be somewhere. Schreber, Memoirs of My Nervous Illness

Countertransference, a favorite topic in many psychoanalytic circles since the 1950s, has been until recently less than prominent in the literature, and particularly in the case studies, of self psychology. Two questions thus emerge: (1) Has the study of countertransference become peripheral in self psychology, and if so, why? (2) Is the conception useful or necessary in self psychology, and if so, how? A consideration of this second question will involve some discussion of recent developments in philosophical hermeneutics. This discussion will clarify the central claim of this chapter, namely, that a selfpsychological understanding of the psychoanalytic process requires some notion like countertransference. It will also become clear that we need to distinguish the narrower from the more inclusive meaning of the term.