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Brenner, I. (1995). Reply To Brenneis. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 43:300-303.

(1995). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 43:300-303

Reply To Brenneis Related Papers

Ira Brenner

I am delighted with the interest that C. Brooks Brenneis has shown in my recent article, “The Dissociative Character: A Reconsideration of Multiple Personality” (JAPA 42:3). I appreciate his opinion that the clinical material “lends credence” to my hypothesis, so I am puzzled at his conclusion that there are “three significant errors” in the paper.

He objects to my “narrowed vantage point” but perhaps does not realize that I am describing a defensive operation, which by definition needs to be restrictive. Such a formulation needs to be restrictive so that psychoanalysts can test it as they listen to how their patients ward off the anxiety of intrapsychic conflict in the here and now. The ambiguity surrounding psychoanalytic terms has especially plagued “dissociation,” and it deserves periodic psychoanalytic reexamination. In this regard, it would be inappropriate to consider “wider contexts for dissociation.”

To add to his confusion, Brenneis fails to completely quote my definition of dissociation. It is therefore ironic that, given his research on the vagaries on memory, he would seem to illustrate his own thesis by an incomplete recall of my words.


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