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Baranger, M. (2012). The intrapsychic and the intersubjective in contemporary psychoanalysis. Int. Forum Psychoanal., 21(3):130-135.

(2012). International Forum of Psychoanalysis, 21(3):130-135

Part I. Aspects of Intersubjectivity: Theoretical Perspectives

The intrapsychic and the intersubjective in contemporary psychoanalysis

Madeleine Baranger


This text discusses the evolution that has taken place since the beginning of psychoanalysis and that continues into contemporary practice. It focuses specifically on the causes and modalities of this evolution and its possible assessment in relation to the teachings of Freud. Addressed to a consulting patient, early psychoanalysis was constructed around successive discoveries in the research process, and the importance of the analyst's personality for the therapeutic process has been increasingly recognized. Due to the discovery of transference and countertransference, as well as the study of the analyst–analysand pair, current psychoanalytic practice can be described as intersubjective. Contemporary psychoanalysis entails no longer the study of a specific subject, but rather that of the relationship between the two participants and their joint work as a means to deduce and ultimately change the modalities of the analysand. This is a more and more common and widespread treatment model, although there are differences in terms of the conception of intersubjectivity. This paper cites analysts and groups of analysts involved in this subject, and the nuances of their approaches reflect differences in ideology. Baranger's “field theory,” for instance, is discussed in general terms. Its known origins and consequences for the practice of each member of the analytic pair are discussed, along with their common work and eventual changes.

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