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Altman, L.S. (1995). Classics Revisited: Leo Stone's The Psychoanalytic Situation. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 43:197-205.

(1995). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 43:197-205

Classics Revisited: Leo Stone's The Psychoanalytic Situation

Linda S. Altman

Pulver began the panel by noting the tremendous impact of The Psychoanalytic Situation when it was published in 1961, an impact that is still felt today. In 1961 the ego psychology of Hartmann and Kris was at the end of its ascendancy in the United States. For a variety of reasons, the spread of ego psychology was accompanied by an acceptance of the withdrawn and distant analyst as the norm, a position Ferenczi, Rank, and Alexander had attempted to move away from. In 1953 Eissler had published his paper on parameters, which reinforced the idea that analysts who do anything other than interpret are indulging the patient and that parameters must be analyzed. Thus, anything other than pure interpretation was considered a deviation from correct analytic technique. In the midst of this orthodoxy, Stone dropped a “bomb” on the New York Psychoanalytic Society by advocating spontaneity, warmth, and humanity. Commenting on the transference-countertransference complex, the primary unconscious meaning of the psychoanalytic situation, and the effects of the psychoanalytic situation on the analytic patient, he defined the basic analytic relationship as one between physician and patient.

Bromberg, introduced as a representative of the interpersonal school, began by noting that Stone's book was regarded as an act of courage by most interpersonal psychoanalysts. Bromberg organized his remarks around a quote from The Psychoanalytic Situation: “What I have in mind … is a subtle shift in the general baseline of the classical psychoanalytic situation, applicable, throughout treatment, to any patient” (p. 108).


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