When a therapist is encouraged, urged, or even expected to evince the qualities of curiosity, hope, kindness, courage, honesty, purposefulness, and integrity, we cannot possibly consider such expectations as being on a par with surgical scrubbing. Although one would be hard-pressed to make a claim for successful surgical procedures sans scrubbing, one has little difficulty demonstrating successes in psychoanalysis and psychotherapy with therapists possessed of few or even none of these attributes. We all know good therapists who are bereft of curiosity. How do we add up the requirements that take the therapist from presence to competence to expertise? This chapter argues that moral positions can have a profound impact on psychoanalytic and psychotherapeutic practice without their being made explicit and often without our ever being aware of them. It also discusses psychoanalytic relations, skills, and personal traits a therapist must have in treating patients, and whether love is a necessary virtue in therapy.
Keywords: psychoanalysis, psychotherapy, therapists, presence, patients, psychoanalytic relations, love, personal traits, skills, expertise