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Stolorow, R.D. Brandchaft, B. Atwood, G.E. (1993). The Intersubjective Approach: Reply to Arnold Richards. Bul. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 49:1219-1221.

(1993). Bulletin of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 49:1219-1221

The Intersubjective Approach: Reply to Arnold Richards Related Papers

Robert D. Stolorow, Ph.D., Bernard Brandchaft, M.D. and George E. Atwood, Ph.D.

June 11, 1992

Richards' (1992) review in the Journal (40:256–260) of our book, Psychoanalytic Treatment: An Intersubjective Approach, dismisses our claim that our book offers a distinctive contribution. He criticizes us in a manner that we feel demonstrates a failure to comprehend our position, while he repeatedly attributes to us a "penchant for erecting and demolishing straw men" (p. 258).

Two themes are central to Richards' critique. The first declares that the book "misses the mark in attempting to … [illustrate] an 'intersubjective' viewpoint differing radically from that of traditional psychoanalysis" (p. 257). Richards suggests that we are defining our position in comparison to that of classical analysts as one of superior empathy. This trivializes our position.

The essence of our differences with traditional analysis is captured in the following statement from our book: "The intersubjectivity concept is in part a response to the unfortunate tendency of classical analysis to view pathology in terms of processes and mechanisms located solely within the patient… We have now come to believe that the intersubjective context has a constitutive role in all forms of psychopathology" (pp. 3–4).

If Richards is contending that the perspective contained in the foregoing quotation is not different from that of traditional analysis and does not entail a radically different understanding of psychological experience and the configurations from which it emerges, then he is suggesting that the drive-structural theory and, indeed, metapsychology itself have been abandoned or superseded in classical analysis.

Richards' review proceeds to its second theme:

"[T]heir comparison of intersubjective with traditional psychoanalysis [is] questionable owing to the treatment modalities through which they exemplify the former.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

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