According to Natterson, love, or the actualization of love, is the aim of the psychoanalytic treatment process where love is defined as “the desire to recognize” and “the caring interest in the patient’s subjectivity.” In an atmosphere and context of the mutual care giving of the therapeutic encounter, dependency and individuation are negotiated between patient and analyst. Lachmann and Beebe, though they do not call it love, offer a manifestation of mutual care giving in the therapeutic process where self- and mutual- regulation are enhanced. Lachmann rightly notes that it is the analyst’s responsibility to match posture, prosody, intensity, gaze, or attune to the patient’s self state, but Natterson, I think, would see this attempt at matching and attunement as an act of love. When, I wonder aloud for candidates, do we see evidence of care giving from the analysand to the analyst?
Candidate Dimitris Tsiakos writes this about Natterson’s paper:
The question of how the therapeutic experience unleashes the potential for love and thus leads to actualization of self may be answered in the following way. The patient comes to therapy for help with a particular problem, but also the patient is bringing as subtext his or her unique version of a universal aim, namely, the achievement of love. Correspondingly, the therapist's desire to help improve the patient's life is an unstated but fundamental wish to give love. But what is the fate of the therapist? The therapist leads a complex life outside the therapeutic chamber, of course, and after a successful therapeutic experience has ended, the therapist, like the patient, brings his or her gains of love and self to the other areas of intersubjective relatedness, including the other therapeutic projects in which he or she participates. Love from others, love for others, and love for self all increase in essential simultaneity.
The two papers are a point of view about relationship in the analytic setting. At TBIPS we talk about the subjectivity of both participants and think about their relationship before we ever start talking about the contributions of the great, historical minds of Freud, Ferenczi, Klein, Winnicott, Sullivan, Kohut, Mitchell, Bromberg, and others, on formal theory and technique.
Lachmann, F.M., Beebe, B. (1996). Chapter 7 The Contribution of Self- and Mutual Progress in Self Psychology, 12:123-140.
Natterson, J.M. (2003). Love in Psychotherapy. Psa. Psychol., 20:509-521.