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Benjamin, J. (2013). Thinking Together, Differently: Thoughts on Bromberg and Intersubjectivity. Contemp. Psychoanal., 49(3):356-379.

(2013). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 49(3):356-379

Thinking Together, Differently: Thoughts on Bromberg and Intersubjectivity

Jessica Benjamin, Ph.D.

This is a personal response to the interview of Philip Bromberg in this journal in which I discuss my intellectual resonance with his thinking as well as some important conceptual differences. In order to elaborate some of the invaluable aspects of his thought, as well as questions that arise from it, I refer to Philip's other writings. Although I base my agreement on ideas about affect regulation, attachment, dissociation, and intersubjectivity, the focus of my discussion is the difference between thinking in terms of a movement from dissociation to conflict versus a movement from dissociation to recognition. I suggest that some of the issues Philip describes as the problem of accepting the “giftie” of being shown how we appear to the other and the “imposition of meaning” can be further elaborated in terms of my distinction between complementarity and thirdness. I discuss one of the cases in the recent book, Shadow of the Tsunami, in order to illustrate how the analyst's dissociation relates specifically to difficulties acknowledging conflict between “good” and “bad,” loving and hateful aspects of both self and other.

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