From Irwin Hirsch’s Introduction:
Of course, my title is taken as part of a quote from Harry Stack Sullivan (1953), for it was Sullivan’s portrayal of the analyst as a participant observer that began to reduce the hierarchy between what had been the view of analysts as objective participants and patients as subjective participants. Indeed, also implied in most pre Interpersonal and traditional psychoanalytic models, is a picture of the analyst as inherently less flawed than the patient, a myth also exploded by Heinrich Racker’s (1968) assertion that psychoanalysis is decidedly not a relationship between a well therapist and a sick patient. I have always assumed, or I like to think, that Sullivan’s awareness of himself as a person with a deeply troubled life history helped him recognize the inevitable existence of more emotional symmetry between analyst and patient and as well, the inevitability that the idiosyncratic person of the analyst will always play a role in analytic interaction. For me, “more human than otherwise” has never meant that we are all alike in our emotional fingerprints, but that each unique fingerprint is characterized by unique emotions that influence all perception and all interpersonal interaction
Making analytic subjectivity his lifetime focus, these selected papers span four decades of Irwin
Hirsch's astute examination of the analyst's participation in the process. From an observing participant model, he traces his trajectory toward a particularly human, 'idiosyncratically flawed' yet unself-consciously loving analytic presence. He exhorts us to recognize and embody our uniquely flawed yet nurturant and facilitative capacities--essential to an evolved analytic stance. He demonstrates these capaci(es with characteris(c humility, unsparing self-reflection, and generosity of spirit. In this book, Hirsch outlines the contours of a humane, loving, and ethical analytic presence.
--Andrea Celenza, PhD.