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Santostefano, S. (2008). When and How Does a Person's Relationship with Environments Begin and Continue to Play a Role in Psychological Functioning? Reply to Paper and Commentaries by Bodnar and Roth. Psychoanal. Dial., 18(4):548-561.

(2008). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 18(4):548-561

When and How Does a Person's Relationship with Environments Begin and Continue to Play a Role in Psychological Functioning? Reply to Paper and Commentaries by Bodnar and Roth Related Papers

Sebastiano Santostefano, Ph.D., ABPP

Bodnar and I urge therapists to understand and address not only a person's conflicted desires, which Roth advocates should be the only focus of psychoanalytic treatment, but also the role space and place play in a person's psychology. The psychoanalysts Bodnar cites, who advocate the importance of understanding environments, follow the positivistic assumptions of eco-psychology. I argue why the dialectical-relational model I outlined should be followed. From the viewpoint of this model, I discuss Bodnar's patients who are wasting environments and commend Bodnar for addressing the role body experiences with places and spaces play in the conflicts of these individuals. I explain why I disagree with Roth's opinion that Bodnar and I are romanticizing nature in our discussions of environments. I join Bodnar's challenge that treatment should include helping a person learn how he or she can repair and recover the ability to interact and negotiate with all environments. I also challenge therapists to understand the embodied metaphors they carry that give meaning to human and nonhuman environments and to explore why, when, and how therapy should be conducted in different environments.

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