Origins of the ethical attitude

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Abstract

This paper seeks to explore the genesis of the capacity for an ethical attitude, personally and professionally. As analysts working in intimate clinical settings, ethics is at the foundation of our professional lives, as it is at the foundation of our humanity and what it is we struggle towards in our own personal development.

The ethical attitude presupposes special responsibilities that we choose to adopt in relation to another. Thus, a parallel situation pertains between caregiver and child and between analyst and patient: they are not equal partners, but nevertheless are in a situation of mutuality, shared subjectivity, and reciprocal influence.

The basic premiss of this paper is that the analytic attitude is an ethical attitude, and that the ethical attitude is a developmental achievement, and as such it may reach beyond the depressive position.

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