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Newman, K.M. (1994). Whither Therapeutic Regression in the Relational Model?: Commentary on Steven Stern's "Needed Relationships". Psychoanal. Dial., 4(3):347-348.

(1994). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 4(3):347-348

Whither Therapeutic Regression in the Relational Model?: Commentary on Steven Stern's "Needed Relationships" Related Papers

Kenneth M. Newman, M.D.

The relational model describes the repetitive, addictive-like patterns of attachment that people enact in order to maintain object ties. It explores the sources and motivations for the development of these often crippling bonds and recommends the treatment modality for their dissolution. As Stern argues in his paper, however, it seems that in stressing the independence of the relational-conflict framework from developmentally arrested needs, the patient's chronic underlying structural weakness and vulnerability are being dismissed. The pathological bonds that imbricate the repetitive transferences were forged in the face of the original traumas to the emotional and structural needs of the child. Once the analyst and patient become aware of the effect these repetitive bonds are having in the current treatment situation as they are redeployed in the transference, the setting is being established not only for new patterns of relating but potentially for a therapeutic regression that will facilitate the emergence of repressed needs associated with the developmental arrest. The yield of this is that now the original object failures and the dissociated and often unintegrated affects can be relived within the context of a new object experience in order to strengthen the self. In essence, the analytic object provides an atmosphere for reengaging developmental needs and for reviving painful memories and affects as the analyst becomes heir to the original faulty objects. The benefit of this regression is that the analyst can offer a new paradigm not only for


Dr. Newman is Training and Supervising Analyst, Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis, and is coauthor (with Bacal) of Object Relations: A Bridge to Self Psychology.

© 1994 The Analytic Press

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