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Greenberg, J. (2019). Response to Rachel Blass. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 100(1):148-149.

(2019). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 100(1):148-149

Letters to the Editor

Response to Rachel Blass

Jay Greenberg

In her Introduction to a group of commentaries on Melanie Klein's recently published Lectures on Technique (Steiner 2017), Rachel Blass describes me as “a leading figure in American Relational psychoanalysis” (2018, 950). This characterisation of me is factually inaccurate; I do not consider myself a relational psychoanalyst leading or otherwise, nor am I considered one by those who do identify themselves as relational psychoanalysts.

Blass’s misrepresentation of my conceptual and institutional commitments may or may not be important enough to warrant correction, but in any case this is not my reason for writing. The point I wish to make is larger: her approach to reading what I wrote, a kind of approach that is all too common in psychoanalysis and perhaps in twenty-first-century culture more generally, is incompatible with the kind of open-minded discourse that will keep our discipline alive and generative. Let me spell out what I mean by this.

To begin, it appears to me that Blass’s belief that I am a relational analyst shaped her reading of what I wrote; certainly it shaped the way she described it in her Introduction. In her paragraph she points out (twice) that I am adopting an “intersubjective view of things” (951), and she goes on to take single words out of context and to find emphases in what I wrote that significantly distort what I believe I had in mind in writing the commentary. The result is a picture of me (and, I suppose, of relational analysts generally) as being far more globally critical of Klein than I am; she seems to want to portray me as suggesting that Klein's work is for all intents and purposes archaic, and that we have entered a brave new world of epistemological sophistication and clinical freedom that leaves our seminal thinkers behind.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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