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Aron, L. (1993). Working Toward Operational Thought—Piagetian Theory and Psychoanalytic Method. Contemp. Psychoanal., 29:289-313.

(1993). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 29:289-313

Working Toward Operational Thought—Piagetian Theory and Psychoanalytic Method

Lewis Aron, Ph.D.

ONE OF THE GREATEST PROBLEMS of psychoanalytic theorizing is the tendency to deal with the complexities and ambiguities of psychic life by simplifying, dichotomizing and splitting, by resorting to "either-or" instead of "both-and" solutions. One manifestation of this is the splitting of two areas of scholarship, which if studied together, could enrich each other. This has been the case in the tendency to isolate the study of the cognitive and the study of the affective. Even sophisticated psychoanalysts and cognitive theorists have made the mistake of identifying Piaget with the cognitive and psychoanalysis with the affective, and in so doing have unnecessarily and unfortunately perpetuated the splitting and isolation of these two worlds of scholarship. Often, Piaget is considered as an interesting theorist for child therapists or for cognitive theorists or for those interested in child development or structuralist philosophy, but of limited usefulness for the clinical analyst working with adults. In contrast, I have found Piaget's concepts to be very helpful clinically and very clarifying in understanding the ways in which the analytic process leads to structural change.

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Copyright © 1993 W. A. W. Institute

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Contemporary Psychoanalysis, Vol.

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