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Gerson, S. (1996). Considering Intersubjective Psychoanalysis on Its Own Terms: Response to Cooper's Further Remarks. Psychoanal. Dial., 6(6):903-907.

(1996). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 6(6):903-907

Considering Intersubjective Psychoanalysis on Its Own Terms: Response to Cooper's Further Remarks

Samuel Gerson, Ph.D.

What is this dialogue about and why are we having it? It may be useful to recall that this conversation began as an attempt both to delineate the multiple meanings of intersubjectivity (Spezzano, 1996) and to specify and illustrate some principles of technique that follow from an intersubjective theoretical perspective (Gerson, 1996). Spezzano's and my explicit aim was to further the development of the theory and technique of intersubjective psychoanalysis by defining aspects of its foundational elements and formulating some implications of these for conceptualizing and conducting clinical work. In these endeavors we tried to elaborate some of the overarching issues attendant to divergences between positivist and subjectivist perspectives on reality as they present themselves in psychoanalytic work. From this vantage point, debates about one-person and two-person psychologies, as well as those about intrapsychic and interpersonal orientations, exist within a more encompassing epistemological divide that involves fundamental reorientations in theory and technique. Cooper, both in his initial discussion of Spezzano's and my work and in his current rejoinder to our responses, has framed the issues as constituting a dialectic in which all perspectives can exist in some harmonious tension, if not synthesis. His approach left me fearing a premature and ill-advised, even if unintended, obfuscation of the unique and radical aspects of intersubjectivity. It is here that our difference becomes misconstrued as an adversarial drama pitting the evil “Dichotomizer” against the virtuous “Ecumenicist.”

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