The use of the 'corrective emotional experience' and the search for the bad object in psychotherapy

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11 Citations (Scopus)


In this article the classical concept and the use of the 'corrective emotional experience' in psychotherapy is described. This concept is not widely accepted within the standpoint of contemporary psychoanalytic psychotherapy and object relations theories. It has an unfavorable reputation. However, this paper does not advocate discarding this therapeutic idea and action because it does have therapeutic value. The case is made that the search for the bad object, and patient's reenactment of early experiences as they had been, is a corrective emotional experience in that it is a reparative experience. Furthermore, the search for the bad object is necessary for attachment. In addition, the point is made that patients find and create the object, therefore, the corrective emotional experience must be viewed as something that patients find rather than what therapists do.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-41
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Journal of Psychotherapy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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