Emotional Attunement

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“Levels of Emotional Attunement”

In the article “Emotional Attunement”, the author Dr. Lynne Laub, talks about different levels of emotional attunement used through observing her clients behavior. Although she could not fully experience the suffering of each client, emotional attunement guided Dr. Laub objectionable views on her client’s emotions and in understanding their emotional state; it helped her facilitate effective, responsive cognitive methods of interventions. In each case, the analyst used her client’s emotions as an emphatic guide to determine how she would address their needs. Dr. Laub logical thinking abilities, seemed to resonate compassion through her choice of words, tone of voice or even by her non-verbal stance; she manages to establish harmonious relationships with her clients and through this act of compassion, the client becomes sensitized and allows their vulnerability to be explored.

Empathy in attunement appears to be the essential affective mode of understanding. “An understanding of our own emotions guides us in understanding others”. (Emotional Attunement pg. 81) Each patient, were generally seeking assistance from the doctor, to be listened to and understood. The doctor role with empathy was to focus on how the patient was feeling; possibly sensing what it might be like to be in the client’s situation. Empathy helps the analyst recognize the client’s feelings, actions and motives. It also helps makes the client more comfortable; engaging them in communication, decreasing anxiety, facilitating trust and allowing opportunity for the doctor to get to the root of the problem to treat them effectively.

Dr. Laub spoke of different methods used in her assessments as well as the modern analyst, such as Symbolic Communication, Narcissistic Transference, Syntonic Joining and Non-Intervention. Examples of how these methods were implemented were based on the cognitive understanding of what her client experienced. For example, the first client she spoke of in the article was about a young man. His characteristics were emotionally driven, acting on impulse, in a highly agitated anxious state. He was enraged with the treatment that he was getting from authorative figures as well as his family. He made it difficult for the doctor to interject and interpret what she analyzed because he was very expressive with his emotions and dissatisfactions. She struggled with the thought of sharing and if it would be beneficial, so she kept to herself until the client asked her to reason with him. She agreed and identified with him by asking a question that reflected his strength, which made him feel good about himself. This was an example of Symbolic Communication

Dr. Laub second client was a woman and she was having difficulty with her marriage. The tone of her client’s voice, the way she verbalized her emotions, her overall expression, conveyed emotional detachment. The description on how the patient was dressed and the way she behaved clearly reflected her unconscious state; her loss of touch with reality. She plainly did not want to deal with her emotions. One of the methods that were used on this patient was Narcissistic Transference. A process which enabled her to let go of her ego and helped her identify her feministic qualities, similarities of everyday womanhood shared with the doctor. The doctor mirrored her contact and after a few sessions, the second method used was the Syntonic Joining. This method helped the client adjust to her natural emotional state without defense and allowed her to share her true emotions.

The third patient was a woman, who apparently was disappointed with her choices that she made in her life. At the age of 16, she got pregnant, married at 22, divorced, re-married and divorced again. Dr. Laub observed how comfortable this patient made herself during each session by removing her shoes. She shared her current interest with the doctor about a...
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