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Frankel, J.B. (1998). Reply to Hirsch. Contemp. Psychoanal., 34(4):539-541.

(1998). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 34(4):539-541

Reply to Hirsch Related Papers

Jay B. Frankel, Ph.D.

I offer a brief reply to Hirsch. Our two essays speak for themselves and do not need repeating. There is much of value in Hirsch's article. Hirsch's extensive and informative elaboration of the distinction between Sullivan's and Fromm's ways of working, and their influence on subsequent interpersonal analysts, was especially helpful. He is also correct in crediting Levenson with a key role in introducing perspectivism into psychoanalysis, and in crediting interpersonal psychoanalysis more generally for its momentous contributions to understanding and working with countertransference.

Hirsch is accurate in saying that relational psychoanalysis began as an umbrella term, although it has become a more integrative movement. I agree with Hirsch that interpersonal and relational psychoanalysis overlap in important ways. I see relational psychoanalysis to a large extent as an outgrowth of interpersonal psychoanalysis. And I take Hirsch's caveat as my own; he makes the important point that he does not speak for all interpersonalists, and of course I don't speak for all relational analysts, just for my own understanding of an evolving relational sensibility.

There are, however, some misrepresentations of my own thinking, and of my portrayal of relational psychoanalysis, that I feel it is important to correct. Hirsch misrepresents how I portray the relational perspective when he says I present it as an orientation where “analysts actively try to avoid being separate objects or separate selves vis à vis patients….

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