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Litowitz, B.E. (2003). The Contemporary Psychoanalyst at Work: Theory and Practice †. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 51(1):9-13.

(2003). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 51(1):9-13

Commentary

The Contemporary Psychoanalyst at Work: Theory and Practice † Related Papers

Bonnie E. Litowitz

Many articles in this issue can be viewed as continuing a discussion begun in JAPA 50/3 (“Psychoanalysis: Practice and Technique”) of what North American psychoanalysts are doing, how they are conceptualizing what they are doing, and what their concerns are. Lawrence Friedman, introducing the 50/3 papers, discerned a general retreat from theory. He speculated that theory, having become exhausted by “the great American theory project,” was later splintered by deconstructive challenges from interpersonal and relational perspectives (see the Reis panel report in this issue). Friedman pondered the consequences of movement away from a theory that has been traditionally structured around concepts of resistance and has defined what we seek from, and do with, patients. Will we lose core concepts that define what we do that is different from other disciplines and that enable us to talk to one another? Reading the papers in this issue suggests that analysts are still concerned with the relationship of theory to technique and that they have not abandoned the traditional vocabulary of psycho-analysis, even as they are responding to the changing environments in which they work. Yet these papers also reveal that some things have indeed changed.

Analysts are still concerned about the relationship of theory to practice, although the range of compared theories is broader and the conclusions postmodern. Richard Almond, for example, examines analytic data from three theoretical perspectives; he compares his own clinical material, understood from multiple theoretical perspectives, to the published material of a neo-Kleinian (Betty Joseph) and a relation-alist (Lewis Aron).

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