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The Psychoanalytic Bridge

In interpersonal psychoanalytic theory, the same phenomenon can be encompassed by Sullivan's largely undeveloped "Tenderness Theorem" (1953, p. 39), as the therapeutically pre-syntaxic bridge that allows the concept of consensual validation to include the elements of empathy and regression as clinical variables. The need to expand Sullivan's concept of tenderness has already been alluded to by Chrzanowski (1977, pp. 25-26), and will take in what Stanton (1978, p. 134) calls the "ego-interpretive state" when the patient is functioning best as an analytic patient. It is not a regression to symbiosis. It is a me-you experience which, as Settlage (1977) has described, reaffirms the precognitive or preverbal sense of core identity, and leads to the feeling of "being understood" as a cognitive bridge to being able to understand the analyst. It is an ego-regulated derivative of exactly what Sullivan describes in his "Tenderness Theorem "— a synchronicity between the need tension level in the infant and the m other's responsiveness to it, which is the first affirmation of core identity. It is, above all else, interpersonal, but not in the sense that "interpersonal" is most typically associated with the single aspect of "clarification" in consensual validation.