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Wolstein, B. (1984). Discussion. Contemp. Psychoanal., 20:64-76.

(1984). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 20:64-76


Benjamin Wolstein, Ph.D.

DR. SPENCE INVITES US TO CONSIDER two distinct, albeit related, things: what he calls commitment, referring to the order of interpretive perspectives on metapsychology; and what he calls truly respectful listening, referring to the order of procedures of clinical psychoanalytic inquiry. What he proposes, namely "to show that we may very likely never hear what the patient is saying in a form that is untouched by our own private accompaniment, " I believe most practicing psychoanalysts here tonight already acknowledge. We have already learned from the early founders of the White Institute about participant observation, and about the interlocking of transference and countertransference. Anyone, moreover, whose theory and practice has at all been affected by the Institute's founders is, I think, also a pluralist about perspectives on metapsychology. For it is now more than 40 years that Sullivan, Thompson, Fromm, Horney, Fromm-Reichmann, the Riochs, Schachtel, Bone, and others broke away from the model of singular interpretation of the classical perspective.

1983 being the 40th Anniversary of the founding of our Institute, I shall devote part of my discussion to some aspects of interpretive metapsychology in the overall structure of psychoanalytic inquiry, past as well as present. I will pay special attention to the espousal of literary and narrative metaphor which gives Dr. Spence the scaffolding of his paper, and which enables him to interpret the patient as a text, and the therapist as a reader or literary critic.

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