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Cooper, S.H. (1996). The Thin Blue Line of the Interpersonal-Intrapsychic Dialectic: Commentary on Papers by Gerson and Spezzano. Psychoanal. Dial., 6(5):647-669.

(1996). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 6(5):647-669

The Thin Blue Line of the Interpersonal-Intrapsychic Dialectic: Commentary on Papers by Gerson and Spezzano Related Papers

Steven H. Cooper, Ph.D.

Gradually, the one-person versus two-person debate in psychoanalysis has moved beyond the initial and necessary stages of caricature into a more refined dialogue about theoretical diversity. As this dialogue has developed, ideas from particular theories have also interpenetrated other theories. In recent years much of psychoanalysis has been influenced by conflict-relational theory, and various intersubjective and self-psychological models. As a consequence of these multiple influences, we have needed and have been developing a vocabulary for discussing different axes (Hoffman, 1991) within theories. However, we also have many different dialects and usages of terms such as intersubjective, constructivism, transference, defense, and participant-observation. We are beginning a period in which it may be less useful to compare two-person models to a one-person model than to clarify what each of us mean by terms like two-person psychology or intersubjective psychoanalysis. Currently those who agree about the value of the two-person model are having the kind of arguments George Bernard Shaw addressed when he said, “England and America are two countries separated by a common language.”

Spezzano and Gerson employ a narrative style in their fascinating papers that relies heavily on what Fishman (1994) has termed the “crisis of the moment.” Fishman uses the concept of the moment to refer to points of affective impact in a treatment hour.

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