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Gedo, J.E. (1997). Letter: John Gedo Replies. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 45:650-650.

(1997). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 45:650-650

Letter: John Gedo Replies

John E. Gedo

Nothing could better illustrate my contention that Stolorow and Atwood tend to present their views in inappropriately polemical ways than their letter in response to my review. Contrary to their unwarranted claim that I used that opportunity to attack self psychology, I took no position whatever on that tradition within psychoanalysis—so much so that the most senior self psychologist in Chicago has commended me for the evenhandedness of the review. Although they acknowledge that their theoretical proposals are based on an intersubjective perspective, Stolorow and Atwood question the relevance of my commentary because it is focused on the usefulness of that perspective rather than on the list of subsidiary issues I did not have the space to consider within a limit of fifteen hundred words. If intersubjectivity is not the central issue of their book, why was it subtitled The Intersubjective Foundations of Psychological Life?

It is also misleading on their part to assert that the review dismissed the intersubjective approach: rather, I examined the clinical material used to illustrate it and found a number of examples in which the authors abandoned it as a frame of reference. (The insinuation that I distorted their vignettes is unsubstantiated as well as outrageous.) It is the authors' inconsistency and failure to define the appropriate limits of the intersubjective viewpoint that I criticized, and for this they have no answer.

Instead of addressing the issues I raised in the review, Stolorow and Atwood try to change the subject, raising red herrings such as who failed to gather associations to a dream they interpreted without providing any—or whether their viewpoint should be labeled “radical relativism” or “perspectivalism” (either way, it is too radical by half). Nor do they clarify whether they meant to affirm the curative power of a benign relationship, as study of their book led me to believe, or to disavow this.

I suspect that the real source of the indignation that characterizes Stolorow and Atwood's letter is my denial of their claim of originality regarding numerous concepts. Yet I did not even mention those of my own ideas they reused without attribution.

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