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Richards, A.D. (1998). Politics and Paradigms. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 46(2):357-360.

(1998). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 46(2):357-360

Politics and Paradigms

Arnold D. Richards

The appearance in this issue of papers by Charles Spezzano, Dianne Elise, and the team of Lewis Aron and Annabella Bushra is worthy of note. The fact that these writers are members neither of the American Psychoanalytic Association nor of the International Psychoanalytical Association marks a departure from the status quo as recently as four or five years ago. For example, in 1993 JAPA 41/4 included only one paper by a nonmember of those groups, and that contributor was Martin Bergmann, who subsequently became a member of the IPA and, in Toronto this May, an honorary member of the American. That the interpersonalist/relationalist schools, of which Spezzano and Aron are prominent representatives, are only now finding a place in this journal is evident from a cursory study of the bibliography of the Aron-Bushra paper. A search using the PEP CD-ROM reveals that John Fiscalini, a prominent interpersonal analyst, is cited for the first time in JAPA, although he was cited twenty-eight times in Contemporary Psychoanalysis through 1994. Gerard Chrzanowski, another prominent interpersonally trained psychoanalyst, is cited for the first time in JAPA since a single citation in 1965 in an article by Rudolf Ekstein. By contrast, there are no fewer than fifty-nine references to Chrzanowski in Contemporary Psychoanalysis.

The question for us to consider is the extent to which the development of psychoanalysis has been affected by organizational and political schisms over the years. Aron and Bushra cite some unexpected convergences between authors who seemingly have developed similar ideas independently of one another. A case in point is the approach to anxiety in the analytic situation developed by Paul Gray and Harry Stack Sullivan. The similarity in their views is unexpected and remarkable, and not at all consistent with a dichotomous drive/relational view of their respective schools. It is interesting to ponder how their theories might have developed had the Washington School of Psychiatry and the Baltimore-Washington Institute maintained an organizational affiliation.

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