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Epstein, R. (2005). On: Psychoanalytic pluralism. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 86(6):1713-1714.

(2005). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 86(6):1713-1714

On: Psychoanalytic pluralism Related Papers

René Epstein

Dear Sirs,

This is a comment on the psychoanalytic controversy of Wallerstein (2005a, 2005b) and Green (2005), within the context of previous debates, and Bernardi's (2002) signalling of the need for controversy. With differences, Wallerstein and Green point towards ‘a shared psychoanalytic discipline’. However, a definition of ‘discipline’, i.e. as ‘a subject or field of activity, e.g. an academic subject’ is needed, to accomplish Green's proposition of ‘true epistemological terms’.

Let us start pragmatically taking account of all the functions a psychoanalyst might choose. Even the most well-established tasks (the general clinician, the clinician specializing in children and adolescents, the training analysts) with their diverse functions have, or should have, their own theoretical foundations. This implies different theoretical levels within a Kuhnian paradigm: every function exerted by or as a psychoanalyst has to be included in or be innate to the discipline defined by the psychoanalytic paradigm.

Also, we supervise or learn often with psychoanalysts operating within a different theoretical framework. So, to define simply our discipline by two ‘levels of conceptualization’, and its ‘loose coupling’ (Wallerstein, 2005a, p. 624) is not enough. Different levels of theory have to be defined and extended to a complementary comparison within the discipline (Epstein, 2000).

Such a ‘wider’ controversy and clarification of terms requires new methodological developments (Epstein, 2003; Epstein and Murillo, 2002).

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