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Priel, B. (1997). Reply to Commentary. Psychoanal. Dial., 7(4):459-463.

(1997). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 7(4):459-463

Reply to Commentary Related Papers

Beatriz Priel, Ph.D.

“We tend to think that where we are is where it's at.”

Levenson (1972)

I would like to begin by thanking Dr. Friedlander for his very thoughtful and challenging commentaries on “Time and Self.” He read this paper using a deconstructive-postmodern approach and questioned the relations between theory making and clinical practice. I shall reply to the theory/practice comment first and then elaborate on the position of “Time and Self” vis à vis deconstruction and postmodernist psychoanalysis.

Friedlander focuses on temporality in order to disentangle the relationships between theory and praxis in Mr. R's case: did theory precede and affect the analytic dialogue, or the other way round? As Friedlander rightly comments, however, “time in psychoanalysis is not linear” and therefore the temporal flow between in-session intersubjective dialogue and between-sessions theoretical reflection is nonlinear as well. Moreover, these two modalities juxtapose in very complex ways, with practice affecting and being affected by theory, both prospectively and retrospectively. The continuous conscious and unconscious transactions between theoretical reflection and clinical dialogue contribute to the analytical process insofar as they facilitate listening and open a broader range of possibilities. When our listening constrains itself to what is already known (our theories for instance), however, we are probably blocking the process. The alternative (no theory?) is neither recommendable nor possible.

In the context of the relations between theory and praxis, Friedlander focuses on the patient's relation to interpretation (“to what extent the patient understood [or even needed to understand] the role of temporality …”).

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