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Miller, J.P., Jr. (1990). Relational Concepts in Psychoanalysis. An Integration: By Stephen A. Mitchell. Cambridge, Mass. and London: Harvard University Press. 1988. Pp. 326.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 71:727-731.

(1990). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 71:727-731

Relational Concepts in Psychoanalysis. An Integration: By Stephen A. Mitchell. Cambridge, Mass. and London: Harvard University Press. 1988. Pp. 326.

Review by:
Jule P. Miller, Jr.

Stephen Mitchell has written an important book of broad and ambitious scope which will be of interest to many psychoanalysts. In this work he attempts to clarify the nature of, and the relationship among, many contemporary schools of psychoanalysis. He then offers a selective integration of the relational schools which he terms the relational-conflict position. His goal is to create a new, modern synthesis of psychoanalytic theory.

Mitchell first divides the currently important schools of psychoanalysis into two groups. In one group is Freud's theory and metatheory which, in Mitchell's view, is based on the conceptual framework of the instinctual drive. In the other group are those schools of analysis which Mitchell believes follow the relational model. The relational models have in common the concept of the central importance of relatedness to others. The relational models include interpersonal psychoanalysis, self psychology, the British object-relations schools, including Klein, as well as aspects of existential psychoanalysis and of modern ego psychology. In between these two basic groupings are a number of important post-Freudian writers who, according to Mitchell, use Freud's language but in a different way, and with a different meaning, from the way in which it was used by Freud. These writers are, in fact, often closer to the relational model. Among such authors, Mitchell includes Mahler, Winnicott and Loewald.

In a declarative style, Mitchell outlines his over-all position.

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