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Teicholz, J.G. (2010). The Achilles Heel of Psychoanalysis: Meditations on Motivation: Commentary on Paper by Robert P. Drozek. Psychoanal. Dial., 20(5):569-581.

(2010). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 20(5):569-581

The Achilles Heel of Psychoanalysis: Meditations on Motivation: Commentary on Paper by Robert P. Drozek

Judith Guss Teicholz, Ed.D.

In discussing Robert P. Drozek's “Intersubjectivity Theory and the Dilemma of Intersubjective Motivation,” I consider the challenges inherent to general theories of motivation in contemporary psychoanalysis, challenges that are further complicated by our multiple theories of intersubjectivity. While I agree with Drozek that individuals can be motivated by aspects of others' subjective experience I would not raise this phenomenon to a general theory of motivation. I explain why I feel that motivation is a fraught topic in contemporary psychoanalysis, and I suggest reasons that relational authors have often addressed this topic only obliquely. I also take issue with Drozek's claim that, to date, psychoanalysis has no motivational theory that addresses both the intrapsychic and the intersubjective realms. In reviewing the ideas of several authors whose theories Drozek rejects because he believes their work reduces motivation to the intrapsychic, I find that these authors have addressed the intersubjective and intrapsychic aspects of motivation far more adequately and complexly than Drozek has recognized. Thus while I admire the energy and logic—even at times the eloquence—with which Drozek presents his ideas, I question whether psychoanalysis needs a new motivational theory at this point in time.

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