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Shapiro, T. Emde, R.N. (1991). Introduction. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 39S(Supplement):169-171.

(1991). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 39S(Supplement):169-171


Theodore Shapiro, M.D. and Robert N. Emde, M.D.

The theory and practice of psychoanalysis are inextricably interwoven. They are complementary aspects of how we work and learn about our science and about our patients. It is difficult to approach a patient without a model of how he or she behaves and how his or her mind operates. At the same time that we are encouraged to listen empathically and sensitively to our patients, we also are asked to be enmeshed in a dyadic arrangement observing not only them, but ourselves. These are the models that have arisen during the last decades; they have changed psychoanalysis from a singular natural science vantage point, employing observer and subject to an observer within a dyadic field. Nonetheless, we have a central model we call classical that involves the notion of a psychic apparatus with its varying compartments, and we attempt to decipher how the patient's behavior and report can be reduced to common themes or derivative variations of universal fantasy. The defenses and resistive operations our patientsuse within the transference and the enactments that somehow permit us to understand what organizations dictate the patients' behavior are our data base.

This series of papers approaches the patient from these varying vantage points—that is, looking at theory and how it influences our practice, and looking at the practice of psychoanalysis for what it shows that is unique about our theories and also what it tells us about how to revise our theories. The language of each of the authors varies. Some authors cast their models in the classical language of Freud's structural theory. They also modify that theory omitting the concept of defense mechanism, espousing the idea that any behavior can be employed defensively.

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