In the present article the authors examine the role of the therapists’ subjectivity, in particular their personality, in the diagnostic and therapeutic process over the course of psychoanalytic treatments. First, they provide an introduction on the relationship between diagnosis and the clinician’s subjectivity focusing on the contribution of the second edition of the Psychodynamic Diagnostic Manual. They then present a review of the empirical evidence on the influence of the therapist’s individual and subjective variables in psychoanalysis and psychodynamic psychotherapy, stressing their implications for clinical practice and training. Finally, they present a theoretical-clinical overview on the therapist’s personality in psychoanalysis along with the few empirical studies on this topic, also reporting the preliminary findings of an ongoing research project which explored this variable through the Shedler-Westen Assessment Procedure (SWAP-200), an empirically validated and clinically relevant psychometric procedure designed to assess personality functioning.
Keywords: Therapist subjective variables, diagnosis, therapist personality, psychoanalytic psychotherapy