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Orfanos, S.D. (2017). Never Mind: A Discussion of Amy Joelson’s “I Think, Therefore I Am Not Alone: Thinking Obsessionally in a Relational World”. J. Infant Child Adolesc. Psychother., 16(1):15-17.

(2017). Journal of Infant, Child & Adolescent Psychotherapy, 16(1):15-17

Never Mind: A Discussion of Amy Joelson’s “I Think, Therefore I Am Not Alone: Thinking Obsessionally in a Relational World”

Spyros D. Orfanos, Ph.D., ABPP

The mind is a riddle that has perplexed philosophers for millennia and now, in the last one hundred and twenty-five years, it vexes psychoanalytic theorists (Makari, 2008). Winnicott dealt with this by writing, “I do not think the mind really exists as an entity” (1954, p. 201). In the case of seven-year-old Cody, Winnicott might say he is a boy struggling with soma traumas from a very early age and psyche traumas as a result of complicated, erratic relationships with others. Winnicott might add that Cody’s mind can be viewed as that part of the self created in order to manage the insecurities of his internal and external worlds . “When the world is not good enough, one has a mind instead… as long as he thinks, he knows he is there, he knows where he is” (p. 95), writes Phillips (1996) in a dense essay about Descartes’ Western mind. Phillips could have just as easily been writing about Cody.

Clearly a talented child clinician, Amy Joelson has written a compelling case study about the complex patterns of self-and interactive regulation that emerged between Cody and her. Joelson writes from the vantage point of contemporary self-psychological and intersubjective systems theory. These psychoanalytic theories, like so many other recent theories of the last 30 years, hold that the individual and his or her context are inseparable, as is affect and cognition. In addition, a central concept of these theories is the experience of self as inextricably linked to one’s relationships with others.

[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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