IPA Inter-Regional Encyclopedic Dictionary of Psychoanalysis

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interpersonal and relational context of ‘knowing one another’, are examples of the conceptual richness of the Two-Person psychologies coming out of the diverse Relational schools. 2. Social constructivism: Social regulation influenced by Fromm (1941) and Levenson (2006), is drawn from the interpersonalist tradition which regards culture as a major influence on the individual’s psyche. With respect to gender and sexuality, the insights of Foucault (1988) and Althusser (1970), have been influential. Contemporarily, in North America, Dimen (2003) and Goldner (1991, 2003) are among those who work in this tradition, focusing on the dialogue of the Unconscious and the Social, the body and the culture, in regard to psychoanalytic feminism and other culturally transformative themes. Corbett (1993, 2009), deconstructing masculinity, positions his work within both a relational and queer theory. 3. Multiple self-states: Relational metapsychology reflecting a preoccupation with states of identity and powered by dissociative process of varying intensity accounts for much of relational analytic dyadic work. ‘Hybridity’, ‘Multiplicity’, ‘Shifting self-states’, ‘vertical splits’ and ‘dissociations’ can be the signs of trauma as well as be part of normative models of mind (Bromberg, 1998, 2006; Davies and Frawley, 1994). In this vein, the early interest of Ferenczi (1911, 1932) in the unconscious communication of traumatic experiences, his concepts of identification with the aggressor and of the wise child, is continued in the present day by focus on trauma and its intergenerational transmission in speech, body, and in other ways of relating. Some of the contemporary relational work on embodiment in the context of problematic attachment (Gentile, 2006; Anderson, 2009; Seligman, 2009; Corbett, 2009) and work on resultant shame (Lombardi, 2008) are examples of contemporary directions in this area. 4. Development, motivation, emergent function: Originally opposed to what he termed a ‘developmental tilt’ in the classical Freudian theory, Mitchell, in his turn to Loewald’s notion of human subjectivity as emergent within the relational matrix, one characterized “from the earliest moments as a site of primal density from which object states and subjectivity emerge” (Harris, 2011, p.714), became increasingly developmentally oriented. An example of the two person account of emergent sexuality, making use of Laplanche’s “implantation” and “excess of the other” concepts, was presented by Stein in her conceptualization of ‘sexuality as excess’, arising out of the interaction between the adult and the child (Stein, 2008). 5. Clinical process marked by the emphasis on the ubiquity of countertransference: Following the early footprints of Ferenczi (1911, 1932), Heimann (1960)’s ideas of countertransference, and Bion’s (1959) developmental work on Projective Identification, the Relational clinical theory “operates as a …radical systems theory” (Harris, 2011); it places emphasis on the bi-directional influences between the analytic pair. Authenticity, honesty, possibly disclosure (Davies, 1994; Renik, 2007) of analyst’s missteps and errors may be put into practice in a variety of ways but they are the grounding of relational clinical practice, just as are the ‘analyst’s vulnerability’ and ‘impasse’ (Aaron, 2006; Harris and Sinsheimer, 2008). Among the many contributions of the Relational thought and clinical approaches listed above, the contemporary controversy involves the degree to which the analytic dyad is viewed as an a-historical co-construction, and at the same time a replica of a mother—infant unit. (See also entries CONFLICT, INTERSUBJECTIVITY)


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