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Greenberg, J. (2013). On: Reply to Levine. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 94(3):573-574.

(2013). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 94(3):573-574

On: Reply to Levine

Jay Greenberg

Dear Editor,

I appreciate Howard Levine's close reading of my commentary on Jose Bleger's groundbreaking paper.

Clearly, Levine and I have different interpretations of Bleger's intent: where I described his paper as “more manifesto than reasoned argument” he sees a less drastic movement away from “received” versions of Freudian theory and practice. To put it another way, Levine sees the paper as additive to the Freudian tradition while I read it as proposing a radical break from that tradition.

Naturally, I think my reading stays closer to Bleger's project than does Levine's. Looking at Bleger's vision of the structure of psychoanalytic theory I take very seriously his statement that: “Dynamics are a representation or model of dramatics but not its cause” (Bleger, 2012, p. 996). And I take very seriously his application of this to clinical process: “psychoanalytic technique and practice … operate entirely in dramatics” (p. 996, my italics). This suggests to me that Bleger is not simply adding a new way of thinking that will apply to some patients at some times while preserving more established ways of thinking and working with other patients at other times. Rather, in my view, he is sweeping out one model and ushering in another.

I draw further support for this from Bleger's approach to the etiological role of sexuality. He writes: “Sexuality is one of the vicissitudes of a Gestalt in which we now give priority to psychotic anxieties” (p. 1000, my italics). To my eye this goes a long way toward undermining the diagnostic distinctions that shape Levine's “two-track” model.

[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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