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Greenberg, J. (2012). Editor's Introduction. Psychoanal Q., 81(1):25-25.

(2012). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 81(1):25-25

Editor's Introduction

Jay Greenberg

The last several years have seen a significant increase in communication among psychoanalysts working within different theoretical and cultural traditions. The conversations that have emerged have great potential, but the difficulties they pose are vexing. Despite the common humanity that is the target of our inquiry, psychoanalysis as both theory and practice is ineluctably local; everything we know and believe is shaped decisively by ideas and personalities that are specific to the region within which we learn and work.

The problem goes beyond the difficulties that arise when we try to translate terms and concepts from one system to another. George Bernard Shaw once remarked that the British and the Americans are separated by a common language, and it is fair to say that psychoanalysts are separated by our common ancestors. It is hard, for example, to find a consensual “Freud” in the readings of North American ego psychologists, British Kleinians, French psychosomaticiens, and so on. The differences can vitalize our discipline, but they can also discourage attempts at mutual understanding.

In this issue of The Psychoanalytic Quarterly, we are offered the opportunity and the challenge of communication among different traditions. Marilia Aisenstein, a leading member of the Paris Psychosomatic School, has written a paper that includes poignant, vividly told clinical material that will be evocative for all who read it. But the material is framed by theoretical constructs—and readings of Freud—that are certain to be unfamiliar to and possibly uncomfortable for an Anglophone audience.

With the goal of opening a dialogue between Dr. Aisenstein's ideas and those of our readers, I invited her to participate in a question-and-answer session in which I asked her to elaborate on some of the ideas that inform her work. Dr. Aisenstein generously accepted this invitation; my questions and her answers follow her paper.

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