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Waintrater, R. (2012). Intersubjectivity and French Psychoanalysis: A Misunderstanding?. Studies in Gender and Sexuality, 13(4):295-302.

(2012). Studies in Gender and Sexuality, 13(4):295-302

Intersubjectivity and French Psychoanalysis: A Misunderstanding?

Régine Waintrater, Ph.D.

French psychoanalysts harbor many misconceptions about the relational movement, which they tend to confuse with the object-relations school. Indeed, the latter has never been popular in France, mainly due to the influence of Jacques Lacan. The French believe that these trends have transformed psychoanalysis into a kind of psychology, more concerned with psychotherapeutic techniques than with metapsychology. Anglo-Saxon empiricism is considered responsible for a theoretical dispersion that French psychoanalysts, who advocate a unified theoretical approach, see as endangering the very foundations of psychoanalysis. Their criticism focuses mainly on the idea that the American conception favors interaction and meaning over the unconscious and infantile sexuality. The notions of intersubjectivity, mutual recognition, and negotiation are met with distrust; as a result, the French analytic community remains largely ignorant of theoretical developments in the relational and intersubjective feminist schools of thought.

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