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Greenberg, J. (2012). Commentary on José Bleger's Theory and practice in psychoanalysis: psychoanalytic praxis. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 93(4):1005-1016.

(2012). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 93(4):1005-1016

Commentary on José Bleger's Theory and practice in psychoanalysis: psychoanalytic praxis

Jay Greenberg

In his sweeping, visionary overview of the relationship between psychoanalytic theory and practice, José Bleger (2012) finds “contradictions” that have impeded the development of both. His paper, more manifesto than reasoned argument, is uncanny in its anticipation of the most important controversies that have preoccupied analytic thinkers working in all geographic regions and within all theoretical traditions since its original publication in 1969. Even given this shared landscape, however, Bleger's perspective differs in subtle and not-so-subtle ways from that of his Anglophone contemporaries. His article bears the stamp of the unique vision that characterizes psychoanalysis in the Rio de la Plata, a vision that influenced his thinking and one to which he contributed significantly.

Referring to his project as a “diagnosis” of the state of the field, Bleger calls into question many of the central assumptions that gave shape to the psychoanalysis of his time: the proper language for conducting our discourse, the ‘one-person’ model of clinical process, the nature of the analyst's objectivity, the therapeutic value of historical reconstruction, the understanding of causality, the central role accorded to sexuality, and the weaknesses of psychoanalytic organizations and their training programs. He is a passionate diagnostician: in his view, psychoanalysis suffers profoundly under the weight of its theory. As he puts it, “just as neurosis is invariably a phenomenon of human alienation, theory has been structured in a way that reflects in its own structure the same alienation” (p.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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