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Aron, L. (2003). Clinical Outbursts and Theoretical Breakthroughs: A Unifying Theme in the Work of Stephen A. Mitchell. Psychoanal. Dial., 13(2):273-287.

(2003). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 13(2):273-287

Clinical Outbursts and Theoretical Breakthroughs: A Unifying Theme in the Work of Stephen A. Mitchell

Lewis Aron, Ph.D.

This article examines the clinical and theoretical contributions of Stephen A. Mitchell. Relating his work to aspects of his character, it demonstrates a unifying theme in his life and work. Mitchell employed his methodological strategy both in navigating clinical stalemates and in his momentous theoretical breakthroughs. In working out theoretical entanglements, Mitchell first laid out before his readers two contrasting approaches to a problem and then showed how, by examining the problem from a different level of abstraction, one can find a third alternative reconciling the tension between the first two. Similarly, when dealing with therapeutic impasses, Mitchell learned to tolerate, sustain, and identify the entrapped states in which he found himself until he could free his imagination and gradually discover some third avenue along which to proceed. These methodological approaches were central to Mitchell's development of relational psychoanalysis.

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