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Smith, H.F. (2000). Towards An International Dialogue: North American Reflections On The Santiago Congress. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 81(2):307-312.

(2000). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 81(2):307-312

Towards An International Dialogue: North American Reflections On The Santiago Congress

Henry F. Smith

In this brief reflection on the Santiago Congress, an attempt is made to clarify some of our difficulties in international dialogue. The fantasy persists that there is only one psychoanalytic mother tongue; alongside is the wish that European, Latin American and North American approaches might be integrated. Is such integration possible or desirable? In making clinical observations are we all looking at the same phenomena and putting them into different words, or are our observations irreconcilable? It is suggested that common ground might exist more readily on some levels of abstraction than on others and that North American conceptualisations might coexist with European and Latin American conceptualisations on separate levels of abstraction. An argument is made for a reconsideration of quantitative and energic factors, especially in the realm of affect and representation, and a reintegration of such notions into structural theory. Because the tight linkage we habitually draw between theory and practice may not accurately reflect the analyst's mind at work, we cannot study too frequently the details of the clinical hour, including what we observe ourselves thinking and doing.

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