Empathy and intersubjectivity in group psychotherapy. Pain sharing and mirror neurons.
The author’s main hypothesis is that intersubjectivity is at the base of the establishment and preservation of the small therapy group, which is also the place where intersubjectivity disorders can appear and be properly dealt with. What is favoured, is a prelogical and automatic conception of intersubjectivity, in continuation with the theory of mirror neurons, that well describes the pain sharing phenomena in small groups. The author thus tries to evaluate the congruency of present neurophysiological models with the Bionian field theory. Instead of conceiving the group as a whole, the antinomy group/individual is overcome by suggesting a multidimensional synchronous space vision, inspired by Matte Blanco’s model. After a close review of the main conception of intersubjectivity – Stern, Psychology of Self, Kaës – the author attempts to trace back the rationales of empathetic perception and intersubjectivity to the mould of the present phenomenical turning point of psychoanalysis. Merleau-Ponty’s chiasmatic-empathetic conception is seen as the true precursor of field theory, in line with the present neurophysiological ideas and with the here-and-now and protomental Bionian conceptions.