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Schwartz Cooney, A. (2017). “Going Too Far” or Shifting the Paradigm? An Intergenerational Response to Dr. Slochower’s Relational Heroines. Psychoanal. Dial., 27(3):300-306.

(2017). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 27(3):300-306

“Going Too Far” or Shifting the Paradigm? An Intergenerational Response to Dr. Slochower’s Relational Heroines

Amy Schwartz Cooney, Ph.D.

In this paper I respond to Dr. Slochower’s “Going Too Far: Relational Heroines and Relational Excess” from my vantage point as a second generation relational analyst. While mindful of the risks of overemphasizing expressiveness and interaction (Stern, 2014), I do not see the pervasive clinical excess Dr. Slochower critiques as representative of relational work today. I appreciate many of Dr. Slochower’s suggestions for advancing the “individual element” and focusing on the inner world. My principle differences involve some of the assumptions that underlie Dr. Slochower’s discussion in her paper. Specifically, I believe that relational psychoanalysis represents a paradigm shift and not an over-reach in a dialogic pendulum. I question the shaping role Dr. Slochower assigns to analytic ideals in contemporary theory and practice. I differ with her interpretation of mutuality and uncertainty, which I understand to be descriptions of aspects of the analytic relationship and the analyst’s relationship to knowledge, rather than ideals that direct clinical conduct. I suggest that analytic intent, which I define by building on Mitchell’s (2000) notion of the analyst’s intention with the addition of analytic love, offers a more useful compass for navigating the therapeutic journey than the concept of relational ideals.

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