• mirroring;
  • self;
  • attunement;
  • rupture;
  • repair;
  • process;
  • nonsymbolic;
  • embodied

This article traces four shifts in conceptualization marking the theoretical/clinical journey of this author's developmental movement from a self psychologist to a selves-in-relationship psychoanalyst. It commences with a recognition that the analyst's conceptualizations, building blocks of organizing activity, are actions that impact self and other. Psychoanalysis was initiated as a practice in open-systems thinking, the hallmark of scientific observation and meaning making. Continuing in this tradition requires careful attention to clinical experiences anomalous to what a particular conceptualization might lead one to expect or to how that conceptualization might inform one's response. Such anomalous experiences, as Kohut demonstrated, can require expansion or emendation in conceptualization as central to the analyst's clinical activity. Four key concepts emerging in the self-psychological tradition are revisited for conceptual expansion: mirroring, self, attunement, and rupture repair. Each reformulation impacts on and is constituted, in part, by the other, hence the nonlinear relationship between these concepts. Each reformulation is grounded in a clinical illustration and marks a shift from structural conceptualization to process conceptualization characterized by attention to, and narration of, the analyst's as well as the analysand's subjective experience and contribution to the clinical interaction. Furthermore, clinical attention is expanded to the micro dimensions of nonsymbolic-embodied experiences and the macro dimensions of how different cultural beliefs and customs, shaped by both local as well as professional identifications, can influence the meaning-making process of the analyst's subjective organizations of self, other, and intersubjective processes. In the clinical illustrations narrated, these reconceptualizations are demonstrated to have significant impact on how analyst and analysand interact.