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Gabbard, G.O. (1998). Introduction: Glen O. Gabbard. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 46(1):36-38.

(1998). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 46(1):36-38

Introduction: Glen O. Gabbard

Glen O. Gabbard

The first word in the title of Joseph Lichtenberg's plenary address, “experience,” is intended to be understood in a highly personal way. He takes the reader on a guided tour through his three analyses, his excursions into infant research and attachment theory, and his work as a psychoanalytic clinician, all en route to his final destination, which is his current perspective on psychoanalytic theory and technique. His interest in Stern's concept of “lived experience” is tied inextricably to his own lived experience as patient, analyst, researcher, and theoretician.

An important segment in this personal odyssey was a shift from viewing psychoanalysis as a theory of structure to viewing it as a theory of structured motivation. In a major achievement in an impressive career, Lichtenberg developed a model of five motivational systems working in concert to define moment-to-moment lived experience. All five are conceived as evolving in a “self-other” framework, each developing only when specific responses by caregivers are provided.

From this intersubjective theoretical position, Lichtenberg moves into considerations of technique, where the influence of Heinz Kohut and other self psychologists is readily apparent. Among Lichtenberg's technical principles is the general advice to eschew defense interpretation. He insists that the analyst explore affects and mental contents only to the extent that the patient can actually experience them.

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