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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 36 (1994) 7

New research

The structure of the psychotherapeutic relation

J.A.M. de Kroon

To characterize the psychotherapeutic relationship first will be mentioned the status of the subject: The self conscious subject is a reflective subject that not fully coincides with his own. The reflective being implies after all a distance to his own. This distance is at the same time a condition to preserve his or her identity. The identity of the subject comes into being in two phases: by imaginary and by symbolic manner, after which the subject is able to think and speak about himself or herself.

In the therapeutic situation two subjects are opposed to each other and they play distinguished roles. The desire to know the truth about himself makes the patient believe that the therapist is the person who knows this truth. The therapeutic process should end when the patient acknowledges being separated from his own truth. In spite of this acknowledgement the patient is obliged to express in words his desire for the truth. This knowledge is the purpose of the therapeutic process.