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Hirsch, I. (1998). Further Thoughts about Interpersonal and Relational Perspectives: Reply to Jay Frankel. Contemp. Psychoanal., 34(4):501-538.

(1998). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 34(4):501-538

Further Thoughts about Interpersonal and Relational Perspectives: Reply to Jay Frankel Related Papers

Irwin Hirsch, Ph.D.

It is pleasing to me that one as erudite as Jay Frankel was sufficiently stimulated by my review to write a spontaneous response. Clearly there is more to be said about the interpersonal and the relational. This reply gives me an opportunity to address some issues that I overlooked in my review of Lewis Aron's (1996) important book, as well as some significant additional issues raised by Frankel. I want to be clear from the outset that the views I express are not necessarily representative of others who identify with either perspective. I feel identified with both the interpersonal and relational designation (though I normally refer to myself as interpersonal), yet I know that many others who do as well might disagree with much that I say here.

First, I wish to reiterate the point that “relational” began as an umbrella term and interpersonal psychoanalysis was a very central tradition (perhaps the most central) that was included under that umbrella. The relational orientation has since expanded in meaning to include, as well, a blending of perspectives under that original umbrella. I do not see a singular relational “school.” Spezzano (1998) addresses this question in some depth and comes to the same conclusion. Like Spezzano, my sense of the term “relational” is that it reflects both a variety of independent traditions and a mixture of traditions that have some key things in common, much as originally described by Greenberg and Mitchell (1983). The subtitle of the journal Psychoanalytic Dialogues is “A Journal of Relational Perspectives” (author's italic), and to me, this pluralistic spirit is continuous with my understanding of Greenberg and Mitchell's intentions.

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