chapter  7
49 Pages

Tools of the Trade: The Use of the Self in Psychotherapy (1990)

COMMENTARY BY ELLIOT ADLER e clinical issue that Sabe is addressing in this paper is the challenge of being natural, spontaneous, and emotionally authentic within an intimate yet professionally bounded therapeutic relationship. More specically, he is concerned with exploring how and when an analyst can express his spontaneous feelings, thoughts, and judgments-about his patient or about himself-in a way that furthers the therapeutic aims. Yet every paper on technique, no matter how narrowly conceived, implies a broader conception of therapeutic action and speaks to more fundamental issues such as the essential nature of transference and its relation to the psychoanalytic situation. Sabe clearly recognizes this and explicitly anchors his technical recommendations in a theoretical tradition that give his ideas weight in the endless rhetorical dialectic of our professional literature. And though his paper is written about the use of self in psychotherapy, where his ideas would be less controversial, it is evident that Sabe wants his vision to be relevant for all forms of psychoanalytic treatment. As his title suggests, he considers this use of self as a basic tool of our trade and argues that this understanding poses a fundamental challenge to a more traditional (i.e., Freudian) model that holds analytic neutrality as an essential ideal of technique.