therapeutic relationship

The most fundamental point is the transformation of the whole analytic situation from one in which a detached observer studies an „object“ to one of interpersonal communication. (…) This is possible only if the analyst experiences within himself what goes on in the patient and does not approach him merely cerebrally―if he sees and sees and sees, and thinks as little as is absolutely necessary and, furthermore, if he gives up the illusion that he is „well“ and the patient is „sick.“ They are both human, and if the experience of the patient, even the sickest patient, fails to strike a chord of experience within the analyst, he does not understand the patient. (…) The fact is that he and the patient are engaged in a common task―the shared understanding of, and of the analyst’s response to his experience―not of the patient’s „problem“; the patient has no problem but is a person who is suffering from his way of being. ― (1990f [1969]: The Dialectic Revision of Psychoanalysis, in: E. Fromm, The Revision of Psychoanalysis, Boulder (Westview Press) 1992, pp. 70f.)

If we really understand the patient then indeed we experience in ourselves everything the patient tells us, his fantasies, whether psychotic or criminal or childish. We understand only if they strike that chord within ourselves. That’s why we can talk with authority to the patient, because we are not talking about him anymore, we are talking about our own experience which has been made manifest through his telling us what he experiences. (…) If you relate to the patient not as a thing over there whom you study, but if you try to experience in yourself what a patient feels, then indeed you experience the whole realm, the whole world of that which is not in the conscious mind. ― (1992g [1959]: Dealing with the Unconscious in Psychotherapeutic Practice, in: E. Fromm, Beyond Freud: From Individual to Social Psychoanalysis, New York (American Mental Health Foundation) 2010, pp. 103f.)