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Suchet, M. (2011). Other to Ourselves: Commentary on Margaret Crastnopol: The Organismic Otherness of Being. Psychoanal. Perspect., 8(2):165-170.

(2011). Psychoanalytic Perspectives, 8(2):165-170

Other to Ourselves: Commentary on Margaret Crastnopol: The Organismic Otherness of Being Related Papers

Melanie Suchet, Ph.D.

Sometimes it is good to right the boat if there is a sense that it is tipping too far over. Margaret Crastnopol helps us find our way back to the importance of constitution, the neuro-temperamental dimensions of experience, an otherness that is not unconsciously rooted but a function of our neurophysiologic makeup. According to Crastnopol, we have veered too far into the depths of psychodynamic causality, losing the enigmatic aspects of corporeality. It certainly is the case that we are becoming more aware of how affect regulation, impulse control, cognitive organization, and anxiety thresholds have neurophysiological bases. I am also delighted to have the soma back in the foreground, to rethink embodiment, and biophysiological underpinnings of self states.

However, the particular stance Crastnopol has taken is a rather curious one for a psychoanalyst. Suggesting that a father's sobbing while speaking at an award ceremony for his autistic son is best understood as characterological otherness, as a function of neurophysiologic makeup rather than a deeply meaningful event, whether it be understood intrapsychically or intersubjectively, with conflict or dissociative models, feels reductionistic.

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