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Zimmer, R.B. (2017). The Analyst's Use of Multiple Models in Clinical Work: Introduction. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 65(5):819-827.

(2017). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 65(5):819-827

The Analyst's Use of Multiple Models in Clinical Work: Introduction

Richard B. Zimmer

In an age of theoretical pluralism, practicing psychoanalysts have been faced with intellectual challenges that inevitably have a profound effect on their clinical work and how they think about it. There has been a proliferation of theoretical models of the mind and the clinical situation, and proponents of these models have organized into competing schools of thought. Increasingly, the intellectually involved clinical analyst is exposed, willy-nilly, to literature, lectures, and panels that highlight the specific clinical usefulness of these various theories.

A New Era and a Shifting Discourse for Psychoanalysis

Steven Cooper (2015) has noted that, as a generation of analysts mature who have been exposed to multiple theoretical systems in their training, and as efforts to formally integrate two or more of the theories into unified theoretical systems have found a place in our literature, we have entered a “post-pluralistic era” that has begun to shift the nature of our professional discourse. In seminars and panels we hear colleagues present clinical material, often compelling, apparently based on a hybridization of two or more theories. There is a growing sense in our community, if not yet a growing consensus, that each theory may shed its own special light on one or more aspects of intrapsychic experience.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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