Humility

Abstract

This paper offers a nuanced discourse on the otherwise ignored topic of humility. It brings together scattered comments within psychoanalysis, secular lay-literature, sociocultural studies, and religious thought on humility. The paper also describes pathological variants of humility (excessive, deficient, false, and compartmentalized) and delineates five areas of clinical practice where humility plays an important role: (i) humility in selecting patients to treat, (ii) humility in daily conduct with patients, (iii) humility in the attitude of listening to clinical material, (iv) humility in the manner of intervening, and (v) humility in deciding upon the longevity of our professional careers.

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Correspondence to Salman Akhtar.

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Address Correspondence to Salman Akhtar, M.D., Professor of Psychiatry & Human Behavior , Thomas Jefferson Medical College, 833 Chestnut East, Suite 210-C, Philadelphia, PA 19107, USA.

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Akhtar, S. Humility. Am J Psychoanal 78, 1–27 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1057/s11231-017-9120-7

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Keywords

  • humility
  • modesty
  • open-mindedness
  • gratitude
  • self-effacement