Agency in Psychoanalytic Theory
Title: Agency as a Psychoanalytic Idea
Author: Joseph Caston
Abstract: Competent agency is a basic assumption of psychoanalytic change. Yet as an aspect of health, personal agency has in the main been only intuitively addressed and remains clinically unsystematized. Here experience-near and observer-centered criteria are developed that assess a personas-agent’s competence in particular domains. These ideas, clinically illustrated, stand as an operational framework that helps thinking and talking about agency in everyday clinical events and psychoanalytic outcomes. Three specific criteria are proposed: reversibility, self-observation, and appropriateness. The first is descriptively polar; together the three apply to each given context of action. They can also serve to ground future research. In this regard, several empirical psychoanalytic studies of adults and children that exemplify measurable aspects of agency are reviewed. Once clinical markers of personal agency are articulated, it will not be necessary to resolve the free will debate: pragmatically, we need only put such distinctions to work.
“Samuel hurried in and grabbed the first seat available. Having quickly sat down he slowly looked up. What was going to happen? To his relief the group leader welcomed him to the meeting as did others. “
What makes leadership “good enough”?
“…the “good enough” leader (GEL), like the “good enough” mother, does not try to be obsessively and compulsively
perfect, machine-like, in his or her attunement with and response to the organisation…The “good enough” style of leadership contrasts with two culturally widespread and familiar styles of leadership…“hard” and “soft.”
Trust at Work: What it Means for Identity
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