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(1997). Interior Dialogue. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 45:333-334.

(1997). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 45:333-334

Interior Dialogue

In JAPA 45/1 we detailed the new directions and initiatives taken by this journal. Our focus was on editorial formats, members of the editorial board, upcoming articles, and other matters that together may be thought of as the journal's manifest content. But in any publication can be found a latent content more or less consciously intended (here the metaphor begins to fall apart) that comes under the heading of editorial philosophy. The central mission of JAPA is to publish well-written, well-reasoned papers, based on sound scholarship, that are clinically apt. Easy to say. But we are very much aware that right now psychoanalysis is in ferment. Both the field in general and the American Psychoanalytic Association in particular have become more disciplinarily diverse and theoretically pluralistic. Because debate is lively but also at times strident, a journal's responsibility is to raise the level of discussion, clarify concepts, and foster communication. Too often in current psychoanalytic exchanges, arguments are presented exclusively in opposition, straw men populate the presentations, and politics and personalities come to the fore.

The papers published in this issue can be approached from the point of view of the contribution each makes to advancing constructive discussion in various controversial areas of psychoanalytic technique and theory. Henry F. Smith's article is an effort to examine the nature of psychoanalytic debate and the reasons we sometimes talk past each other. He makes the point that dialogue is often derailed because the interlocutors misrepresent each other's point of view, wittingly or not. Lichtenberg and Wolf's clear statement of the principles of self psychology can be seen as providing a sound basis for discussion between adherents to that view and those holding different positions. Reed and Baudry examine an old controversy between Susan Issacs and Anna Freud on the nature of fantasy.

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