How Loving are You Willing to Be?: Empathic Interpretations of Fallibility, Capability, and Luck in Psychotherapy

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Abstract

This article addresses possibilities for more empathic interpretations in the clinical situation. Using both clinical case material and mythical allegories, the author, a psychotherapist and philosopher, considers the interrelated themes of human capability, fallibility, luck, and compassion within the context of clinical circumstances, especially in relation to intractable compulsive disorders. While addressing the implications of deterministic and indeterministic assumptions regarding human nature, the author attempts to show how human capability is subject to fallibility and how both are dependent on the workings of luck. Clinical material is then used to elucidate and illustrate more empathic ways of relating both to patients in particular and our fellow human beings in general. A new interpretive framework is also introduced to facilitate and to suggest ways to more compassionately understand, interpret, and respond to patients' own struggles for well being.

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