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Tip: To see Abram’s analysis of Winnicott’s theories…

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In-depth analysis of Winnicott’s psychoanalytic theorization was conducted by Jan Abrams in her work The Language of Winnicott. You can access it directly by clicking here.

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Aron, L. Bushra, A. (1998). Mutual Regression: Altered States in the Psychoanalytic Situation. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 46(2):389-412.

(1998). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 46(2):389-412

Mutual Regression: Altered States in the Psychoanalytic Situation

Lewis Aron and Annabella Bushra

Regression is one of the most controversial topics in the psychoanalytic literature, and disagreements continue regarding a number of propositions central to the issue. On the one hand are those who maintain a traditional view that analysis facilitates regression, through both its setting and its method. On the other are critics from diverse theoretical schools, Freudian, Kleinian, and interpersonal, who have argued that the setting does not, and that the analyst should not, induce or encourage regression. This paper reexamines the fundamentals of regression and relates the concept to the notion of altered states of consciousness. From a relational position, it is argued that patient and analyst mutually regulate regressive states in each other, and that this is an important aspect of the analytic process. One of the analyst's roles is to facilitate the patient's shift into the state best suited for the task of the moment and, often, to improve the patient's ability to internally and interpersonally regulate and move between various states of consciousness. The analyst's commitment to state control as a mutual endeavor helps safeguard the patient's autonomy.

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