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Whitebook, J. (2004). Response to Arnold Cooper and Lewis Aron. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 85(4):1000-1002.

(2004). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 85(4):1000-1002

Response to Arnold Cooper and Lewis Aron Related Papers

Joel Whitebook

Dear Sirs,

I would like to reply to two letters, by Arnold Cooper and Lewis Aron, written in response to my article ‘Hans Loewald: A radical conservative’ (2004). The first, by Arnold Cooper, calls the editor's attention to an article he had published (Cooper, 1988), which predates mine and advances many of the same theses about Loewald. Had I known about the paper, which I somehow missed when I was doing my research, I certainly would have studied it carefully, for I have the highest regard for Dr Cooper as a psychoanalytic theorist. I can only hope that this ‘convergent development’ lends some credence to the claims we both made about this important theorist.

Turning to the second letter, there is no doubt that the rise of the relational school has made an enormous contribution to contemporary psychoanalysis. By reopening debates about the discipline's fundamental assumptions, it awakened the field from its dogmatic slumber and threw analysis into its current state of creative ferment. Furthermore, many of relational analysis' major points—for example, the rejection of the blank screen, the emphasis on countertransference and the repudiation of authoritarianism—are now accepted by most analysts across the theoretical spectrum.

One of the relational school's major contributions was to bring into the open the political dimension of theory formation, which had been largely suppressed by mainstream psychoanalysts. Relational theorists often used the postmodern critique of positivism to rightfully challenge the claim made by classical analysts that analysis is a non-political and value-free science.

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