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Seligman, S. (2007). Technique as a Case-Specific Problem: Reply to Commentaries. Psychoanal. Dial., 17(3):375-383.

(2007). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 17(3):375-383

Technique as a Case-Specific Problem: Reply to Commentaries Related Papers

Stephen Seligman, DMH

Seligman's appreciative response to the discussions of his paper is most concerned with the issues raised in Leon Kleimberg's critique of his “modifications of technique.” The dialogue between Kleimberg's and his point of view, with the latter echoed as it in Case and Dent's and Frosch's, reflects a number of key convergences and divergences between the American relational perspective and the British Independents?. Both approaches rely on a fundamentally dyadic perspective that stresses how the analyst's work is fundamentally shaped in response to the patient's internal objects. At the same time, although he is sympathetic to Kleimberg's concerns, he questions the idea of technique as a fixed set of uncontaminated practices. Instead, he endorses the North American relational idea that whatever the analyst does in the name of “technique” cannot be extricated from the transferencecountertransference in which it is implicated. From this point of view, technical decisions are most likely to be experienced by the patient, and very often by the analyst, as inevitably reflecting one aspect of another of the patient's internal object world from within the phanstasmatically organized matrix of each analytic relationship. In addition, he is concerned that analysts' rigidly adhering to “technical” positions will reduce their likelihood of being effective with the widest range of patients, an increasing number of whom may not accept the traditional analytic practices. The mentalization concept, although not guiding his decisions in the case, is useful in describing many such situations.

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