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Stern, D.B. (2014). A Response to LaFarge. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 95(6):1283-1297.

(2014). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 95(6):1283-1297

A Response to LaFarge Related Papers

Donnel B. Stern

(Accepted for publication 26 September 2014)

LaFarge and I come from two different North American psychoanalytic traditions. Mine, interpersonal psychoanalysis (and, starting in the 1980s, relational psychoanalysis), diverged in the 1930s from LaFarge's, which at that time would have been described as ego psychology. Today her frame of reference might be better described as contemporary Freudian psychoanalysis - although clearly LaFarge is also conversant with, and influenced by, modern Kleinian thinking.

In the beginning of their collaboration, during the 1930s, the men and women who eventually became the first generation of interpersonal psychoanalysts differed from their contemporary Freudian colleagues over the centrality of culture and interpersonal relations in the formation of mind and the practice of psychoanalysis. They shared a rejection of libido theory, Freud's dual instinct theory, and the theory of psychosexual stages; they questioned whether the Oedipus complex was inevitably central; they focused attention on the significance of language in the formulation of experience; they asserted that therapeutic action revolved around the identification of unconscious patterns in the patient's interpersonal life - in the past and the patient's current outside life, but especially in the transference and the countertransference; and they therefore argued that therapeutic action resided more in analytic work in the here-and-now than in genetic reconstruction. But perhaps the most important contribution of the early interpersonalists, in the long run, was their insistence that the analyst was continuously and personally involved, consciously and unconsciously, in the clinical situation.

[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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