THE BLOG
08/15/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Supreme Consciousness

Today's quotation of the day in the New York Times has to resonate with every single analyst across the land: "Life experiences have to influence you. We're not robots who listen to evidence and don't have feelings. We have to recognize those feelings, and put them aside."
JUDGE SONIA SOTOMAYOR at her Supreme Court confirmation hearing.

The nuts and bolts of the therapeutic experience! Countertransference! Without getting fancy here, this is the bread and butter of the therapeutic relationship: the patients's reactions, (transference) and the analyst's or therapist's reactions (countertransference) to the patient. Unconscious, conscious, you name it. We don't have to get too complicated here. We all have reactions to others. To not acknowledge that is insane; to study it, analyze it, and use it, is what we do in the business. It brings consciousness and an awareness that is imperative to any therapeutic process.

While dining with a colleague last night and hashing over a recent case, my friend commented that Sotomayor is a great ad for psychotherapy! The 'supreme rewards of self-examination' she said, as we both talked about the hearings. Sotomayor's presence of mind, and eloquent statement of something we get trained to always use. The understanding of how one's own experiences, feelings, and how this plays out in order to parse out the rational from the emotional. To elevate one's thinking; this is not simply a rational, cerebral experience but demands an understanding of the emotional and an understanding of the place we all function from. Of course there are going to be differences. Fascinating how these hearings are trying to turn this into something negative and how eloquently this woman articulates and elevates the conversation.

Do we want any judges on any court in the land without this consciousness? Sotomayor is talking about two major aspects of judgement: The emotional and the rational. She is probably the first person going through Supreme Court hearings talking about feelings in the most logical and coherent manner.

Now I know we are talking about someone being elected to the highest court in the land, the last stop for interpreting and upholding the law. But without any acknowledgment of the personal biases one needs to set aside, any idea that this doesn't exist, is at best a 'holier than thou' attitude, and at worse, dangerous.

I am delighted with Sotomayor's thoughtful and measured response to perception that her 'bias' affects her judgment.

Hats off to a Supreme Court nominee who may be able to bring Supreme Consciousness to this level of court. Go Sonia, Go!