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Osler, G.F. (1961). Discussion. Am. J. Psychoanal., 21(2):152-155.

(1961). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 21(2):152-155

Discussion

Geoffrey F. Osler, M.D.

In the early part of his paper Dr. Vollmerhausen concisely and lucidly reviews Horney's concepts and definitions of alienation and the search for identity, reminding us again of her great insight and understanding. In the last part of his paper, in a most masterful fashion, he elaborates Horney's concepts of the origin and development of neurosis. In doing this he places alienation in a definite frame of reference. In addition, he reminds us again of the nature of intrapsychic dynamics, bringing to the subject a good deal of his wealth of personal experience as a therapist and teacher.

Despite the evident value of both these aspects of his paper, it was his spontaneous introductory remarks and the middle part of his paper that particularly caught my fancy. Both were somewhat disorganized and apparently disconnected, yet both expressed an intensity, an interest, and a quality of searching, exploring, and open-endedness that I feel most truly reflects Dr. Vollmerhausen's personal attitudes. Particularly, they reflected his awareness of dynamic process, rather than static state, the fluctuating process of alienating and identifying, rather than a state of alienation or identity. Now, in order to understand any process adequately, it seems to me desirable to start at the beginning and follow its development and unfolding. With this in mind, I would like to present the following two or three ideas.

Dr. Vollmerhausen, with his feel for the dynamic, picked the following quote from Horney:

“The development of the individual, whether in a more healthy or in a more unhealthy direction, is now clearly seen as the resultant of the interaction between the individual and his world.

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