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Witenberg, E.G. (1976). Reply to Dr. Knobloch. J. Amer. Acad. Psychoanal., 4(1):113-114.

(1976). Journal of American Academy of Psychoanalysis, 4(1):113-114

Reply to Dr. Knobloch Related Papers

Earl G. Witenberg

I am grateful to Dr. Knobloch for his letter. My written statements have usually been met with such deafening silence (except for reprint requests) that I have assumed that I have written the obvious or that nobody bothers to read or care about my written word.

Dr. Knobloch can be assured I write only my own opinions. Just how many agree or disagree is a matter for his conjecture as it is for my guess.

My point is this — systems theory has been invaluable in pointing out significance of the interfaces in many situations such as the ones among the community, the hospital, the department, the doctor, the nurse, and the patient. It has value also in the relationship between the individual and the family. It also has made serious contribution to delimiting the influences brought to bear on the therapist-patient dyad. As a natural development of gestalt theory and its isomorphs, I find it congenial.

What I mean to focus on in the Editorial is that it is impossible to erect a systems theory for the individual (i.e., psychoanalysis). The reason, as I understand it, is there are no satisfactory models for it. As L. v. Bertalanffy (1968) has said;

The theory of open systems applies to a wide range of phenomena in biology (and technology) but a warning is necessary against its incautious expansion to fields for which its concepts are not made In the last resort, disappointment results from making what is a useful model in certain respects into some metaphysical reality and nothing-but philosophy, as has happened many times in intellectual history.

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