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Coburn, W.J. (2002). A World of Systems: The Role of Systemic Patterns of Experience in the Therapeutic Process. Psychoanal. Inq., 22(5):655-677.

(2002). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 22(5):655-677

A World of Systems: The Role of Systemic Patterns of Experience in the Therapeutic Process

William J. Coburn, Ph.D., Psy.D.

This article underscores and expands on a contextualist, complexity theory perspective in conceptualizing the organization of personal, subjective experience and the therapeutic process. It emphasizes that one's personal, lived experience originates and continues to evolve from within a relational matrix, with affect as its primary currency, and reevaluates what, exactly, is being analyzed and potentially transformed in the clinical setting. An extension of intersubjective systems theory, this article focuses on two complementary themes: the concept of the interpenetration of multiple worlds of experience and the idea of systemically derived organizing principles. These ideas enhance our understanding of the positive transformation of subjective experience and expand our perspectives about therapeutic change in psychoanalysis.

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