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Kalsched, D.E. (2003). Response to James Astor. J. Anal. Psychol., 48(2):201-205.

(2003). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 48(2):201-205

Response to James Astor Related Papers

Donald E. Kalsched, Ph.D.

I would like to thank James Astor for his careful and thoughtful response to my paper. He is someone whose work in this journal and elsewhere I have followed with interest over the years. So it is a pleasure to have him as my interlocutor in this setting. He has raised many more questions than I can answer here, so I will focus on a few of his main criticisms.


First a word about Astor's response to my efforts to meld an object-relations and Jungian language (Winnicott & Fordham), leading to what he calls a ‘confusing mix of incompatible theories’. He wonders whether I have simply hypostatized my transference feelings and used them to build a ‘tower of Babel’ (theoretical model) instead of properly analysing my patients. While this is certainly possible, my respondent might be reassured to know that I didn't intend anything as ambitious as a ‘hypothetical developmental model’. I think we have enough models already and given that they are all different models of the same thing, i.e., infant development from an original ego-less state (oneness) to full reality-relatedness (wholeness), a little mixing of models in the interest of greater understanding may be something we have to tolerate.

For example, Fordham's contributions about the Jungian Self as a ‘primary integrate’, which de-integrates to set up development, is not incompatible with the idea of mother/infant merger or early states of ‘unintegration’ as Astor suggests. It simply defines an earlier unfolding that determines what aspect of the object-world the infant merges with. Fordham is explicit about this:

There is evidence to suggest that after birth the infant develops during the first few weeks of life into a state of ‘identity’ with his environment and particularly with his mother … This identity is not the primary state of an infant…the infant can only fuse with those parts of his environment that correspond very closely, and at first exactly, to his own [archetypal] needs.

(Fordham 1976, p.

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