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Miller, I.S. (2019). Donnel B. Stern and Irwin Hirsch (Editors): The Interpersonal Perspective in Psychoanalysis, 1960's-1990's: Rethinking Transference and Countertransference; and Further Developments in Interpersonal Psychoanalysis, 1980's-2010's: Evolving Interest in the Analyst's Subjectivity. Am. J. Psychoanal., 79(2):234-239.

(2019). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 79(2):234-239

Donnel B. Stern and Irwin Hirsch (Editors): The Interpersonal Perspective in Psychoanalysis, 1960's-1990's: Rethinking Transference and Countertransference; and Further Developments in Interpersonal Psychoanalysis, 1980's-2010's: Evolving Interest in the Analyst's Subjectivity

Review by:
Ian S. Miller, Ph.D.

There is a witticism told among tourists to Ireland, descriptive of interpersonal engagement. The tourist inquires of a local man, “how do I get from Town A to Town B?” and is met with the response, “I wouldn't be starting from here.” This, among other richly evocative associations, reflects my feeling state, or perhaps a state of mind, subjectively encountered while reading the two-volume collection, The Interpersonal Perspective in Psychoanalysis, 1960's-1990's and Further Developments in Interpersonal Psychoanalysis, 1980's-2010's, edited brilliantly by Donnel B. Stern and Irwin Hirsch (2017a, b).

My association requires some explanation because while it is recognizably my own in its subjectivity, it is not wholly my own. It strides the boundary originally discerned by John Rickman in the early 1950's between one-person and two-person psychologies (Rickman, 1951) and revitalized conceptually within the contemporary Interpersonal/Relational turn (Mitchell and Aron, 1999). That is, my subjective association is evoked within an intersubjective process, through mediation by the objective stimulation of the two books before me.

In effect, this dilemma, this fluidity of movement between one and two people in what is now often termed “the psychoanalytic third” (Ogden, 1994; Benjamin, 2004) is the central concern of Interpersonalism, and always has been. The American School of Interpersonal Relations emerged in a particular time, place, and under unique contextual circumstances, as sharply detailed in the introductions to these volumes by Stern and Hirsch (Vol.

[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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