chapter  5
The Core Self in Crisis: Deconstructing Catastrophic Dissociation
Pages 18

Eagle (1984) criticizes psychoanalytic thinkers for frequently conflating therapeutic and theoretical aims and contexts. Following a patient’s narrative, constructing painstakingly an idea of what happened, and paying close attention to the intersubjective are therapeutic skills that any relational analyst strives for, but they do not explain the adult survivor’s subjective experience. My goal in this chapter is to respect the necessary tension between theory and practice by following the epistemic model recommended by Protter (1988). Protter’s incisive guide to ways of knowing in psychoanalysis suggests that a useful theory must address three epistemic modes concurrently: existential knowing, contextual knowing, and textual knowing. The patient’s experience-near narrative and the interpersonal context in which it has been fashioned must be held together in the analyst’s mind by an explanatory model to which the analyst will be referring and refining throughout the analytic process.