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Rendon, M. (1985). A New Paradigm for Separation and Loss: Discussion of “Some Aspects of Separation and Loss in Therapy with Disturbed Children”. Am. J. Psychoanal., 45(1):47-51.

(1985). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 45(1):47-51

A New Paradigm for Separation and Loss: Discussion of “Some Aspects of Separation and Loss in Therapy with Disturbed Children”

Mario Rendon, M.D.

I appreciate the opportunity to discuss Dr. Mahon's paper. In the tradition of Horney's search for truth, I will raise some questions particularly about Dr. Mahon's paradigm, pointing out at the beginning that his object oriented vignettes and his classification of objects into primary, secondary, and transitional are a welcome contrast to his more traditional libidinal-stage oriented conceptualizations. The tension between these two trends in Dr. Mahon's paper is a tension which started with Freud himself as he struggled with his keen clinical observations and the frame of reference or scientific paradigm of his age. In the archaeology of Freudian thinking nothing is more revealing than the contrast between the early seduction theory and the theory of his Project For A Scientific Psychology For Neurologists. In his later model, Freud kept this tension as one between instinct and object, a tension which has been the source of different orientations for post-Freudian psychoanalytic schools.

A paradigm is a set of presuppositions; a “given,” about our understanding of the world's nature. Understanding the world as spherical rather than flat allowed us to discover each other across the earth and also gave unprecedented impetus to science. Placing the earth in its humble position in the universe has made it possible for us to explore beyond it, something which would have been impossible following the Aristotelian paradigm which conceived the fall of any object as its motion toward its natural place: the center of the universe. Today's advance in space technology has been made possible because we understand gravity in a totally different fashion, that is, we have a different paradigm in physics.


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