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Kerman, J. (2016). Reflections, Digressions: Self-Psychology Meets Interpersonal, Relational, and Intersubjective Psychoanalysis: A review of Mutuality, Recognition, and the Self: Psychoanalytic Reflections by Christine C. Kieffer. London, England: Karnac Books, 2014. 203 pp.. Contemp. Psychoanal., 52(1):149-158.
Reflections, Digressions: Self-Psychology Meets Interpersonal, Relational, and Intersubjective Psychoanalysis: A review of Mutuality, Recognition, and the Self: Psychoanalytic Reflections by Christine C. Kieffer. London, England: Karnac Books, 2014. 203 pp.
Jules Kerman, Ph.D.
In Mutuality, Recognition, and the Self, Christine Kieffer offers a series of informative, variably entertaining and wise, rambling, and abstract
reflections about doing clinical work and thinking theoretically about it. These reflections evolved from out of her analytic beginnings in Kohutian self psychology and Winnicottian object relations. It is not surprising, given these beginnings, that her analytic growth and nourishment has come mainly from encounters with intersubjective, interpersonal, and relational psychoanalysis. (Perhaps I should begin with a disclaimer: I am not nor have I ever been a card-carrying self-psychology, interpersonal, or relational psychoanalyst, nor can I claim to have much more than a cursory acquaintance with that literature. I’ve come to this review as a psychoanalytic Everyman, a relational interpersonal intersubjective voyeur.)
In its protracted encounter with the contributions of M. Klein, Sullivan, Kohut, and their followers, the profession has been confronted with an unsettling number of psychoanalytic “schools” currently acceptable within mainstream American psychoanalysis, which had formerly been the bastion of ego psychology. Whether this has been a result of increasing appreciation of the limitations of these theories and their preferred modes of clinical practice or the fall from grace of psychoanalysis in general, contemporary Kleinian, object relations, self psychology, intersubjectivity (which includes major contributions from the interpersonal and the relational group), all seem to be finding a livable place together.
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