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Munich, R.L. (1999). A Review of The Handbook of Interpersonal Psychoanalysis (Parts V, VI, VII): M. Lionells, J. Fiscalini, C. H. Mann, and D. B. Stern. Hillsdale, NJ: The Analytic Press, 1995. 914 pp.. Contemp. Psychoanal., 35(2):327-330.

(1999). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 35(2):327-330

Should the Psychoanalyst Say Gesundheit?

A Review of The Handbook of Interpersonal Psychoanalysis (Parts V, VI, VII): M. Lionells, J. Fiscalini, C. H. Mann, and D. B. Stern. Hillsdale, NJ: The Analytic Press, 1995. 914 pp.

Review by:
Richard L. Munich, M.D.

IN RETROSPECT, Freud's shift in focus from what actually happened between patient and significant others to what happened inside the patient was a decisive moment in the history of psychoanalysis. The Two perspectives formed the foundation for substantial theoretical and technical controversies. On the mentalistic side, Karl Abraham and Melanie Klein focused more on internal drives; Freud, his daughter Anna, and the metapsychologists led by Heinz Hartmann focused more on psychic structure. On the contextual side, Erich Fromm and Erik Erikson and Harry Stack Sullivan emphasized the relevance of external reality, relationships, and welfare to personality development and its therapeutic exploration.

For example, writing in the same era, Erikson and Sullivan had an interesting coincidence of ideas about identity and mental health. Erikson saw identity as composed in part by what one thought of oneself and in part by what others thought. Sullivan believed mental health entailed the ability to see oneself as one is perceived by others. Like the later work of Trad (previewing) and Stern (attunement), both of these psychoanalysts were attempting to contextualize personality; but when their theories became operationalized, Erikson remained within the mainstream of one-person models, and Sullivan became the foundation — at least in the United States — for two-person psychologies. This foundation not only included the role of the therapist and the therapist's transferences, but also included the importance of external reality. A cornerstone of the interpersonal view is Sullivan's characterization of the therapist as participant-observer.

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