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Hanly, C. (1999). On Subjectivity and Objectivity in Psychoanalysis. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 47(2):427-444.

(1999). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 47(2):427-444

On Subjectivity and Objectivity in Psychoanalysis

Charles Hanly

Epistemological subjectivism has found its way into psychoanalysis along several theoretical and clinical paths. It has developed out of the clinical interest in transference and countertransference and, in particular, from the broadly generalized definition of countertransference now popular. The clinically necessary attention to analyst-analysand interaction has been turned into interactionism or intersubjectivism and a denial of epistemological subject-object differentiation. These perspectives transform a clinical focus on the here and now of the analytic relation into the determination of the past by the present and a teleological reversal of causality. Once this reversal is made, narrative in the analytic situation becomes the co-creation of the analysand's past by the present analyst-analysand relation. Psychoanalysis, on this view, can at best substitute a coherent, novelistic account for the life history of a person. Some of the problems of subjectivism are examined here with a view to restoring to psychoanalysis the epistemology of science and common sense.

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