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Silverman, R.C. Lieberman, A.F. (1999). Reply to Commentaries. Psychoanal. Dial., 9(2):229-234.

(1999). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 9(2):229-234

Reply to Commentaries Related Papers

Robin C. Silverman, Ph.D. and Alicia F. Lieberman, Ph.D.

We are Grateful to James Grotstein, Anne Alvarez, and Virginia Demos. Each theorist in his or her own way offered astute, illuminating, and challenging commentaries that have both encouraged and furthered our thinking on the topic of projective identification and its vicissitudes. We were reminded in reading each of the responses of the way in which Freud made little distinction in reference to such concepts as introjection, identification, and internalization. It has been the work of four generations of psychoanalytic theorists to nuance and clarify such concepts in order to have a shared language that is helpful.

We appreciate the way the three respondents made use of our case and discussion in order to further the clarification of these and other psychoanalytic concepts with regard to projective identification. We also take this opportunity to say that, having worked closely with Dr. Seligman for many years, we trust and admire his insistence on theoretical integrity as exemplified by the paper he has written for this volume.

We find all of the comments on the case itself to be on point, and the respondents' observations and interpretations have enriched our understanding of the dyad. We limit our reply to some themes at the level of theory. Specifically, we respond briefly to questions raised regarding relations between events and meaning, trauma, sadomasochism, different types of projective identification, and relations between mtrasubjective and intersubjective experience. Clearly, these themes are not discreet, but overlapping and interrelated.

Event and Meaning

Grotstein and Alvarez remind us of the importance of fantasy, which is unfortunately often underestimated in trauma research.

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