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Gediman, H.K. (2011). Cutting Edge Controversies: True Contradictions and False Dichotomies. Psychoanal. Rev., 98(5):613-632.

(2011). Psychoanalytic Review, 98(5):613-632

Cutting Edge Controversies: True Contradictions and False Dichotomies

Helen K. Gediman, Ph.D., ABPP

Diverse and often contentious polarities raise dilemmas in psychoanalytic controversy today. Shall we be thinking in either/or or both/and terms? Are binaries or polarities inherent in dichotomous points of view true or false? Will multiplicities of outlook replace binaries? I personally think we are in a better position than ever to mine the riches of our expanding knowledge base because increasingly no important school is a monolithic or homogeneous representative of a particular view, and we now have myriad opportunities to dialogue with representatives of other positions. Now well past the millennium, we are bursting forward eagerly to dispel rigidities of old dogmas and to integrate old and newly articulated polarities that are on the cutting edge of psychoanalysis and that are providing so much of today's excitement and intellectual fervor. No longer are we as uniperspectival as we once were, no longer are we as dependent on one theoretical foundation as we used to be, no longer are we as internally coherent and cohesive in our beliefs as we once thought we were. Diversity, contradiction, and controversy require multiple perspectives, but they do not necessarily require a unitary theory. Despite the fact that analysts hailing from different traditions are still engaged in turf wars in which we hurl stereotypes and caricatures at each other, we do share common theoretical and clinical ground. Nonetheless, we also hold legitimate differences in viewpoints in which we are beset by contradictions all along the line. I will delineate from among the many controversial polarities ones that seem to be major although hardly all-inclusive, summarize arguments from different and opposing points of view, and offer my opinions on whether or not certain apparent contradictions are reconcilable.

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