Jefferson Journal of Psychiatry


Recently, the idea of therapeutic neutrality has been attacked. Many observers have suggested that the neutral therapist is inhuman and unempathic. Actually, being a neutral therapist means being especially human and empathic. The neutral therapist's empathic contact with the patient is the most extensive in that it includes not only contact with feelings and thoughts of which the patient is aware, but also contact with all those intolerable thoughts and feelings of which the patient prefers to be unaware. Such awareness in the therapist is possible only when the therapist remains, as Anna Freud (I) recommends, equidistant from the patient's id, ego and superego, that is equidistant from the forces generating the patient's psychic conflict. Such objectivity does not preclude warmth, rather it directly evolves from warm and authentic contact with the patient.

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