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Renn, P. (2017). Relational Lacunae: Gaps in the Relational Literature and Clinical Practice? Commentary on Paper by Paul Wachtel. Psychoanal. Dial., 27(5):522-529.

(2017). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 27(5):522-529

Relational Lacunae: Gaps in the Relational Literature and Clinical Practice? Commentary on Paper by Paul Wachtel

Paul Renn, D.S.W.

I question whether Wachtel’s assertion that there are gaps in the relational literature and residues of a one-person psychology is little more than a reflection of the relational tradition, which encompasses a multiplicity of perspectives. This notwithstanding, his paper helpfully addresses a neglected dimension of clinical practice and provides the opportunity to explore the evolution of Stephen Mitchell’s thinking about the baby as a psychoanalytic metaphor. In doing so, I briefly, if somewhat tangentially, discuss the structure of the inner world, the role of memory in psychoanalysis, the nature of transference, and the extent to which early experiences with caregivers influence adult intimate relationships. To further illuminate Wachtel’s theoretical and therapeutic model, I summarize Mitchell’s (2000) case study of Connie, focusing on his detailed inquiry into her everyday relationship with her husband.

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