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Aron, L. (1997). Are We To Have a Meeting of Minds?: A Reply to the Discussions of A Meeting of Minds. Psychoanal. Dial., 7(6):885-896.

(1997). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 7(6):885-896

Are We To Have a Meeting of Minds?: A Reply to the Discussions of A Meeting of Minds Related Papers

Lewis Aron, Ph.D.

It seems quite unlikely that my commentators and I will end this discussion with a meeting of the minds in the sense articulated here by Stolorow to connote agreement and unity of opinion. We are not all going to be of “one mind” about these matters, and that, I believe, is a good thing, for in using the metaphor of a meeting of minds, throughout my book, I tried to be clear to distinguish mutuality from merger or fusion. I do think that as psychoanalytic colleagues we can attempt to understand and even empathize with each other's positions and perspectives on these matters; we may, under the best of circumstances, mutually influence each other so that in a sense we become involved in a “negotiation” of the differences among us, but this hardly requires that we maintain an ideal of mutual consensus, agreement, or lack of conflict. Similarly, in the clinical psychoanalytic situation, the metaphors of mutuality, negotiation, and a meeting of minds are efforts to grapple with our commonality with our patients, our connectedness, and our reciprocal, bidirectional influence, but not to minimize or underplay the important asymmetries, the important differences in our knowledge, power, authority, and responsibilities. In what follows, I try to respond to the numerous criticisms of my work introduced so thoughtfully by the three discussants. I will be neither systematic nor exhaustive, but rather I try to address what seem to me to be central and salient themes.


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