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Chodorow, N.J. (1996). Reflections On The Authority Of The Past In Psychoanalytic Thinking. Psychoanal Q., 65:32-51.

(1996). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 65:32-51

Reflections On The Authority Of The Past In Psychoanalytic Thinking

Nancy J. Chodorow, Ph.D.

Structural thinking, it seems, is on the wane. The analytic encounter is seen as mutually constructed and contingent rather than intrapsychically caused by one person; we pay increasing attention to the analyst's personally idiosyncratic countertransference, experience, and activity. Analysts have become more aware that intersubjective and intrapsychic meanings are ambiguous and paradoxical, and we emphasize partial interpretations and the multiplicities of narrative consonance.

Such a view of meaning focuses us on ongoing psychological agency and activity—fantasies and self-other constructions that are fluid, ever-changing processes rather than libidinal fixations or ego or self structures that are being enacted. The depth psychology expressed in transference—of unconscious conflicts, fantasies, emotions, projective and introjective exchanges—is continually created and transformed, and we as analysts are more likely to pay careful attention to the unconscious fantasies and affects—the subjectivity, rather than the developmentally created objective structures—that transferences express.

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