IPA Inter-Regional Encyclopedic Dictionary of Psychoanalysis

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of his life. Bion’s conceptualizations had profound influence on the strand of contemporary intersubjective thinking about unconscious communication (below). Among the psychoanalytic theorists who were most influential in shaping his thinking, Stolor ow (1994) credits Freud (‘without whom there would be no psychoanalytic theory to be dialoguing about’), Winnicott (for ‘his insight into the self and human intersubjectivity…in the form of evocative poetic imagery’), George Klein (for ‘radical theorectomy’), Kohut and Gill, both of whom ‘initially steeped in classical metapsychology, and both eventually proposing radical alternatives to traditional theory’. Revealing of Stolorow’s evolution towards experience-near recontextualization of (Freud’s) metapsychology is one of his earlier papers (Stolorow, 1978) where he asserts that Freud's structural formulations both contain and obscure his penetrating clinical insights into the subjective experience of conflict, and he proposes, that id, ego and superego, are best understood as “a symbolic representation of the tripartite structuration of the subjective experiential world in states of emotional conflict” (ibid, p.314). This is followed by series of writings, in which Stolorow repeatedly stressed that intersubjectivity theory does not seek to replace Freud’s, as “ it exists on a different level of abstraction and generality than does Freud’s and other psychoanalytic theories, in that it does not posit any particular psychological contents … It is a process theory …. It also provides a framework for integrating different psychoanalytic theories by contextualizing them” (Stolorow 1998, p.424). An example of such contextualization may be intersubjective thinking on conflict: “When Conflict is liberated from the doctrine of the primacy of instinctual drive, then the specific conflict becomes an empirical question to be explored psychoanalytically. The focus … shifts from the presumed vicissitudes of drive to the intersubjective contexts in which conflict states crystalize” (Stolorow 1994, p. 224). Stolorow (1998) also emphasizes that the intersubjective viewpoint does not eliminate psychoanalysis’ traditional focus of the intrapsychic. It contextualizes it. The problem with classical theory, he thought, was not its focus on the intrapsychic, but its inability to recognize that the intrapsychic world is context dependent. This aspect of Stolorow’s intersubjective thinking would become especially relevant for Relational schools (below). While generally, it is possible to view such clinical concepts as countertransference, enactment, projective identification and containment (see the separate entries ENACTMENT, COUNTERTRANSFERENCE, CONTAINMENT, PROJECTIVE IDENTIFICATION), and related de-centered clinical listening, reverie, and others as propelling the trend towards intersubjectivity, the clinical relevance of intersubjectivity becomes clearest when seen within the context of a contrast between a one person approach with a two person approach to the psychoanalytic process., as viewed by USA Intersubjectivists: In the one person approach , the unconscious (of the analysand) is seen as the target of the process, as in: ‘to make the unconscious conscious’ in the Topographic theory paradigm, and/or ‘where the id was, the ego shall be’, within the Structural theory paradigm. Here, the analyst is seen as having authority of being the one who has knowledge of the basic parameters of the unconscious and its ability to dominate all individuals’ psychological processes. Nuanced exposition of this approach, re-casted within the contemporary interactive context


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