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Ingram, D.H. (1994). In these pages …. Am. J. Psychoanal., 54(3):201-202.

(1994). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 54(3):201-202

In these pages …

Douglas H. Ingram

We open with two papers in the Horneyan tradition. The first, by Nathan Horwitz, considers how the Horneyan model elucidates the work of marital therapy. The interlocking of spousal character structures—notably idealizing and externalizing tendencies—leads to repetitive, rigidifed exchanges that forever rework the same essential issues. The task of the clinician is to identify and specify these issues leading to a systematic working-through of an otherwise never-ending story that is both tiresome and destructive. Horwitz describes a couple in treatment, demonstrating the utility of the Horneyan approach. As a theoretical aside, he introduces the concept of indirect active externalization. This mode of externalization, according to Horwitz, refers to how one person may imagine that another ascribes character traits to yet a third. The defensive purpose of this strategy is usefully set forth in the wider context of a Horneyan appreciation.

Risking that his critical analysis of Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life will strike readers as Grinch-like, Andrew Gordon offers a Horneyan analysis of the film's hero, George Bailey. Gordon demonstrates that the inner world of George Bailey, like the outer world he inhabits, is not at all rosy. After Gordon's rendering, this comedic parable of goodness in America seems more an occulted expression of overwhelming ambivalence in a culture that postively valences both the virtues of love and the values of competitiveness. Perhaps, as with George Bailey, it is only in fantasy or neurotic distortion that these opposed inclinations reconcile.

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