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Chodorow, N.J. (1999). Commentaries. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 47(2):365-370.

(1999). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 47(2):365-370


Nancy J. Chodorow

Arnold Goldberg's plenary address was fascinating to listen to and is equally engaging to read. He conveys to us a lively sense of his patient and describes for us his synthetic, multifaceted clinical stance. Finally, he theorizes his patient's pathology. With such a rich paper, a discussant can focus on only a few issues. As I read the paper, I find everything in twos. First we are given two ways of seeing the patient, Karl. First we see him in terms of his oscillation (itself a two) between homosexual and heterosexual identity and orientation. At the end of the paper we see him in terms of the vertical split expressed in his narcissistic behavior disorder: his perverse wish, and the disavowal of his wish, to look at men's penises. Sexual orientation itself is posed doubly—as created by biology and by culture. As a second major duality, we are introduced to two different perspectives, first- and third-person, empathy and judgment. These perspectives are expressed in the work of the two Heinzes, Kohut and Hartmann. Similarly, Goldberg locates us epistemologically in the potential contradiction of history and fiction, and methodologically in the antinomy of discovery and creation. Such twos, of course, cry out psychically, structurally, and theoretically for a mediating or synthetic third, which is what Goldberg begins to provide. In my discussion I will focus on how his paper moves toward synthesis and how we might take his conclusions somewhat further.

I will begin with Goldberg's two ways of seeing his patient and in the process will offer some commentary on sexuality and sexual orientation.

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