Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
Tip: To contact support with questions…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

You can always contact us directly by sending an email to

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Aron, L. (1990). One Person and Two Person Psychologies and the Method of Psychoanalysis. Psychoanal. Psychol., 7(4):475-485.

(1990). Psychoanalytic Psychology, 7(4):475-485

One Person and Two Person Psychologies and the Method of Psychoanalysis

Lewis Aron, Ph.D.

The distinction between a monadic theory of mind (a one-person psychology) and a relational theory of mind (a two-person psychology) is crucial in understanding psychoanalytic concepts. However, some psychoanalytic theorists see these two models as essentially complementary whereas others see them as contradictory and irreconcilable.

I argue that the artificial distinction between clinical theory and metapsychology obscures the recognition that the most fundamental psychoanalytic clinical concepts and procedures were formulated and historically understood as one-person phenomena. Transference was not conceptualized as an interpersonal event occurring between two people but was rather understood as a process occurring within the mind of the analysand.

The article attempts to extricate fundamental clinical concepts from the quasibiological drive theory that has dominated both our metapsychology and our clinical theory, and to reexamine the value of these clinical concepts within a relational, contextual, and intersubjective framework. The article examines the method of free association in order to illustrate the different implications of one-person and two-person psychologies. I propose that a two-person or relational field theory does not need to neglect or minimize the intrapsychic, the importance of fantasy, psychic reality, or the centrality of bodily and childhood experience.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

Copyright © 2020, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.