Another Look at Neutrality

in Moral Stealth

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print February 2007 | ISBN: 9780226301204
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226301365 | DOI:
Another Look at Neutrality

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Language relates to the world in three ways. The first implies a one-to-one correspondence between the world and the word. The second links language to mental states such as images and perceptions. The third sees language as validated by usages of language communities. If we were able to have a one-to-one correspondence between words or images and the world, we might also be able to achieve the neutral place to stand. If, however, we cannot escape context, neutrality may be unattainable. Anna Freud presents her definition of neutrality by stating: “He (the analyst) directs his attention equally and objectively to the unconscious element in all three institutions. To put it another way, when he sets about the work of enlightenment he takes his stand at a point equidistant from the id, the ego, and the superego.” The analyst or therapist who satisfies Anna Freud's concept of equidistance is probably best thought of as having achieved a balance between opposing forces, forces formed by both the patient's and the therapist's psychic agencies.

Keywords: language; neutrality; Anna Freud; equidistance; patient; therapist

Chapter.  4062 words. 

Subjects: Ethical Issues and Debates

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