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Chernus, L. (2017). Intersubjectivity Theory Revisited: A 30-Year Retrospective: Structures of Subjectivity: Explorations in Psychoanalytic Phenomenology and Contextualism, edited by G. E. Atwood, & R. D. Stolorow (2014). New York, NY: Routledge, 157 pp., $46.95.. Psychoanal. Soc. Work, 24(2):163-170.

(2017). Psychoanalytic Social Work, 24(2):163-170

Featured Review

Intersubjectivity Theory Revisited: A 30-Year Retrospective: Structures of Subjectivity: Explorations in Psychoanalytic Phenomenology and Contextualism, edited by G. E. Atwood, & R. D. Stolorow (2014). New York, NY: Routledge, 157 pp., $46.95.

Linda A. Chernus, LISW-S, BCD

A worthy addition to the Psychoanalytic Inquiry Book Series, which has been publishing works by cutting-edge psychoanalytic contributors for more than 25 years, this book makes an invaluable contribution to our evolving ideas about the psychoanalytic endeavor in an era of growing dissatisfaction with not only classical psychoanalytic formulations, but also those of the mid- to late-20th century. The first edition of Structures of Subjectivity: Explorations in Psychoanalytic Phenomenology and Contextualism, published in 1984, represented a landmark in the psychoanalytic literature, in that it introduced what has come to be known as “intersubjectivity theory.” No longer were patient and analyst viewed as isolated minds, but rather the subjectivity of each was regarded as unique, and the even more specific interaction of their individual subjectivities and patterns of organizing experience created what the authors referred to as a highly unique “intersubjective field.” The publication of this work represented a serious, carefully constructed endeavor to preserve the valuable contributions of classical analytic theorists, while at the same time developing a theory of personality that would illuminate the subjectivity and uniqueness of human experience in its full richness, and without using what they regarded as the reifying language of late-20th-century psychoanalytic theorists.

Shortly after the publication of Kohut's two most highly influential major works, The Analysis of the Self (1971) and The Restoration of the Self (1977), Stolorow and Atwood began to develop their ideas about the relationship between clinical data and scientific data.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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