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Shapiro, S.A. (1993). Gender-Role Stereotypes and Clinical Process: Commentary on Papers by Gruenthal and Hirsch. Psychoanal. Dial., 3(3):371-387.

(1993). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 3(3):371-387

Gender-Role Stereotypes and Clinical Process: Commentary on Papers by Gruenthal and Hirsch Related Papers

Sue A. Shapiro, Ph.D.

These two authors address gender quite differently. For Hirsch gender is something of a background variable since he is explicitly focusing on the impact of the analyst's age and family structure. As I will show, however, gender is as central in his work as it is in Gruenthal's. In addition, the linkage of these two clinical papers by relational theorists, one of whom is a self psychologist and the other an interpersonalist, offers an opportunity for further explication of the differences between these two approaches (see Mitchell, 1992). While both Gruenthal and Hirsch see themselves as using a two-person psychology, what they mean by this seems quite different, and this difference has clear implications for their view of their own participation in the treatments they conduct. While countertransference is the focus of Hirsch's discussion, it remains very much in the background of Gruenthal's presentation.

The juxtaposition of these two articles underscores the enormous complexity of comparative psychoanalysis and the difficulty in teasing apart any given variable for discussion. The style and data of these two articles, undoubtedly like the people who wrote them and the treatments they conduct, differ considerably. One has only to ask oneself what it would be like to be in treatment with either of these authors to realize that besides their obvious differences in gender and theoretical orientation, we are clearly in the presence of two very different personalities.

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