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Extending the Field of Psychoanalytic Change: Exploratory - Assertive Motivation, Self-Efficacy, and the New Analytic Role for Action

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Psychoanalysts’ interest in the need for exploration and assertiveness, originally investigated empirically during the 1940s and 1950s, has recently been revived (Lichtenberg, 1989; Lichtenberg, Lachmann, and Fosshage, 1992, 1996). Exploratory–assertive motivation has been seen as a basic motive that interacts with several other forms of motivation to fulfill and regulate the person’s basic needs, direct interpersonal relations, and maintain the organization of the self. In this paper, it is reasoned that recognizing and systematically and actively integrating the pervasive influence of this powerful motivational system outside, as well as within, psychoanalytic sessions can usefully redefine and broaden the scope and reshape the thrust of many psychoanalytic interventions. Three specific areas of psychoanalytic technique are probed in relation to exploratory–assertive motivation: enhancing patients’ feelings of self-efficacy, shading interpretations toward action, and promoting
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Columbia University; National Institute for the Psychotherapies, New York City

Publication date: December 20, 2001

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