Finding a voice of one's own: The development of a unique, authentic manner as retrospectively reported by highly experienced relational psychoanalysts
The goal of this qualitative study is to explore the developmental process of experienced clinicians, encouraging reflections that describe the emergence of a truer sense of self as a therapist and highly personal and unique manner of working. Nine psychoanalysts and psychoanalytic psychotherapists who self-identified as relationally-oriented, with an average of 25 years of clinical practice, were interviewed. Findings from this project include resounding themes of (1) integration, (2) influence and vulnerability in the therapist throughout development, (3) significance of organizing one's ideas and experience, and (4) use of creativity. The significance of these right hemisphere dominant functions to the emergence of an authentic analytic self is highlighted. These findings are then connected to existing research on caregiver-infant dyads, affect regulation, and other models of development. A critique of the methodology employed and implications for further research, as well as for clinical practice and training, are addressed.