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Seligman, S. Slavin, M.O. (2006). Symposium: On the Interface of Kleinian and Intersubjectivist Approaches to a Clinical Case. Psychoanal. Dial., 16(4):363-364.

(2006). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 16(4):363-364

Symposium: On the Interface of Kleinian and Intersubjectivist Approaches to a Clinical Case

Stephen Seligman, DMH and Malcom Owen Slavin, Ph.D.

This symposium is the first of what we hope will be a series on the interface between Kleinian and intersubjective/relational approaches to psychoanalysis. There are some commonalities between these approaches that may not be entirely obvious. The Kleinian clinical approach organizes the internal world in terms of internal object relationships, and relies on attention to certain aspects of the countertransference as the central data source for analytic work. Both of these qualities provide an immediate link to the two-person model so central to the relational turn. At the same time, the Kleinians's radical insistence on the primacy of the internal world and in particular, the world of the primitive phantasies, runs counter to the relational interest in the equally important role of actual, social reality. This contrast is perhaps most acute in their approaches to the analyst's participation in the analytic dyad, which is meant to be limited to particular analytic functions in the Kleinian approach, but acknowledged and used as a part of an interpersonal relationship in the relational model. As the Kleinian perspectives gain currency in the United States and international interest in the relational approach grows, an exploration of these complex conceptual and clinical differences and similarities seems quite timely.

The following articles are drawn from a colloquium at the annual meeting of International Association of Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy, held in Rome in June, 2005. Meira Likierman, an experienced Kleinian analyst presented a case and three relational analysts, Jessica Benjamin, Stephen Seligman, and Malcolm Owen Slavin, commented on the case. These proceedings, edited for publication, are presented here, with a response to the discussions by Dr. Likierman.


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