By Lewis Aron

ISBN-10: 0881633712

ISBN-13: 9780881633719

During this richly nuanced evaluation of a number of the dimensions of mutuality in psychoanalysis, Aron exhibits that the relational method of psychoanalysis is a robust consultant to problems with strategy and healing procedure. From his reappraisal of the strategies of interplay and enactment, to his exam of the difficulty of analyst self-disclosure, to his concluding comments at the relational import of the analyst's ethics and values, Aron squarely accepts the medical tasks attendant to a postmodern critique of psychoanalytic foundations.

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While these two groupings are greatly oversimplified, the distinction is useful to us here for understanding the impact of postmodernism on American relational analysts. Smith (1994), in an attempt to take a "reasoned stance toward postmodernism" (p. 408), proposes that humanistic psychologists can Copyrighted Material 26 THE RELATIONAL ORIENTATION abandon logical positivism, welcome social constructionism, accept cultural and contextualist criticism, and even embrace an interpretive hermeneutic framework without abandoning a conception of science as a social enterprise committed to an ideal of truth that can be evaluated pragmatically.

Affirmative postmodernists argue that one can take these critiques seriously without foresaking the aspirations of ethical struggle toward the truth and the good. To whatever degree postmodernism has influenced a current generation of American relational analysts, it is clearly the more moderate, affirmative, and optimistic versions of postmodernism that are having this impact. It is arguable that this more moderate, affirmative stance may be better categorized as part of the tradition of critical modernism rather than of postmodernism.

Listen for the gender markers in the following quotation describing the shift from the classical to the relational model: The tradition of abstinence, detachment, and objectivity as methods of eliciting frustration, anxiety, and insight is founded in an authority relationship between analyst and analysand. The therapist is the unquestioned authority figure who cures by reason of his prestigious training and superior insight. He skillfully identifies and eradicates a patient's resistances through timely and well-articulated interpretations, thus permitting the surfacing of memory and the renunciation of infantile wishes.

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A Meeting of Minds: Mutuality in Psychoanalysis by Lewis Aron

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