A Meeting of Minds: Mutuality in Psychoanalysis by Lewis Aron

By Lewis Aron

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

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Contributions that have focused on a twoperson psychology, on social constructivism, and on the analyst as conceptualized as inside of the very system that he or she is studying have been at least indirectly influenced by the feminist critique of the masculine ideals of objective science and lack of involvement with the object of investigation (Keller, 1985; Flax, 1990). Papers emphasizing attachment as a central aspect of clinical psychoanalysis and relatedness and empathy as just as important as independence and autonomy Copyrighted Material 21 CHAPTER ONE have similarly been influenced at least indirectly by the feminist critique of the idealization of independence and the isolated self of our culture.

According to their argument, theoretical positions in psychoanalysis are inevitably embedded in fundamental social, political, and moral contexts. The drive-theory perspective and the relational perspective are based on two essentially different views of human nature and are therefore fundamentally incompatible. Drive theory is derived from a philosophical tradition that sees man as an essentially individual animal and human goals and desires as essentially personal and individual. In contrast, relational theory is linked philo- Copyrighted Material II CHAPTER ONE sophically to the position that man is a social animal and that human satisfactions are realizable only within a social community.

This is important to note because women as people and feminism as an intellectual movement have been a major (often unacknowledged) influence on the development of relational theory. ) Another publishing event of 1988 was critical: the release in English of The Clinical Diary of Sandor Ferencz;i (Ferenczi, 1932), which had been suppressed for more than half a century. This controversial work (recordings of Ferenczi's clinical experiments with mutual analysis in the last few years of his life) brought to the attention of the analytic world the importance of Ferenczi's ideas for contemporary psychoanalytic thinking.

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