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Mitchell, S.A. (1999). Looking Back … Looking Forward. Psychoanal. Dial., 9(6):717-719.

(1999). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 9(6):717-719

Looking Back … Looking Forward

Stephen A. Mitchell

As This is My Last Issue as Editor Of Psychoanalytic Dialogues, I'd like to share some final reflections on the 10 years that have passed since this journal was conceived. Journal and journey derive from the same root word, which connotes time and passage, and the past decade has witnessed an extraordinary passage of time in the world of psychoanalytic ideas and clinical practice.

Applied to psychoanalytic theory, “relational” was initially a bridge concept pointing to an implicit congruence in basic presuppositions about mind inherent in what seemed to be the widely divergent traditions of American interpersonal psychoanalysis and British-school object relations theories. Before the opening of that conceptual bridge, the intrapsychic theorizing of the Freudian/Kleinian world and the transactional theorizing of the interpersonal world were truly separate continents. The relational bridge, at first a narrow, unused underground passageway, has become, in the past decade, a conceptual superhighway for exploring the reciprocally generated inter-penetrability of the inner world of subjective presences, ghosts from the past, and internalized object relations, and the external world of intersubjectivity and present, here-and-now interaction. And accompanying this conceptual opening has been a much greater political tolerance for pluralism in psychoanalytic institutes and associations and a much greater interest in comparative psychoanalysis and in the exploration of different perspectives in psychoanalytic journals. Whatever role the journal and journey of Psychoanalytic Dialogues has played in these developments has been extremely gratifying.

Now, as one of the Associate Editors, I look forward to the beginning of a new era of continued vitality in psychoanalytic theory and clinical practice.

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