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Mitchell, S.A. (1992). Commentary on Trop and Stolorow's “Defense Analysis in Self Psychology”. Psychoanal. Dial., 2(4):443-453.

(1992). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 2(4):443-453

Commentary on Trop and Stolorow's “Defense Analysis in Self Psychology” Related Papers

Stephen A. Mitchell, Ph.D.

I want to begin by thanking Drs. Trop and Stolorow for a very interesting paper. I am in basic sympathy with many features of the clinical approach they recommend and describe so clearly and persuasively. I see their perspective as similar and in many respects compatible with other major theoretical traditions, such as interpersonal psychoanalysis and some versions of object relations theories. Taken together, these various relational theories have provided a compelling and comprehensive alternative to the classical model of orthodox psychoanalysis. In my view, the battle against orthodoxy has been largely won; the real vitality and creativity in the field have shifted to efforts, like the present one, to develop postclassical, broadly relational approaches to mind, development, and the analytic situation. Because the battle has been won, it is now less interesting to recount the deficiencies of the classical model than to explore the subtle but quite important differences among postclassical perspectives, and that is what I intend to do in this discussion.

Trop and Stolorow's paper on defense analysis in self psychology is largely a set of commentaries and conclusions drawn from a very interesting and elegantly presented case description. In what might be considered an opening transference/countertransference gambit, Alan in some sense elicits and then becomes very sensitive to, and angry about, the analyst's enthusiasm about his heterosexual activity.

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