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Stolorow, R.D. Trop, J.L. (1992). Reply to Richards and Mitchell. Psychoanal. Dial., 2(4):467-473.

(1992). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 2(4):467-473

Reply to Richards and Mitchell Related Papers

Robert D. Stolorow, Ph.D. and Jeffrey L. Trop, M.D.

After noting that it is difficult to argue with success, both discussants offer extensive, at times pointed, critical commentary on our clinical presentation. The two discussions seem to us to differ markedly in their purpose and tone. Richards, disconfirming Mitchell's belief that the battle against orthodoxy is over, responds as a defender of the Freudian faith against the onslaught of an alternative viewpoint, and his attitude toward the analytic treatment that we have described is correspondingly dismissive. Mitchell, in contrast, is interested in genuine dialogue and, hence, raises more substantive issues.

Richards exploits the extremely condensed nature of our clinical report, in which many details of the therapeutic interaction were of necessity omitted, to discredit the analytic work and to caricature the treating analyst as lacking even an elementary knowledge of how to conduct a proper psychoanalysis. Richards's aim is transparently ideological and political—to persuade the reader that analysts informed by self psychology and intersubjectivity theory do not do real analysis as adherents to the drive-structural model do. In its tactics, Richards's discussion is reminiscent of some remarks in his (1992) review of Psychoanalytic Treatment: An Intersubjective Approach (Stolorow, Brandchaft, and Atwood, 1987):

[T]he very inclusion of the term “psychoanalytic” in the book's title is controversial. Several of the patients discussed at length would not be considered analyzable; critics would maintain that the intersubjective treatment they received was, at most, analytically informed therapy [p. 257]. Clearly, Richards wishes to reserve the term “psychoanalytic” only for treatments conducted according to the dictates of the drive-structural model and with patients deemed analyzable according to this theory.

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