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Sandler, J. (1996). Comments on the Psychodynamics of Interaction. Psychoanal. Inq., 16(1):88-95.

(1996). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 16(1):88-95

Comments on the Psychodynamics of Interaction

Joseph Sandler, Ph.D., M.D., LL.D.

One of the major theoretical issues in considering processes of interaction is the question of whether it is appropriate to use a one-person or two-person frame of reference. This is a complicated issue and one that cannot be answered simply by saying that the psychoanalytic model of the mind is a one-person model on the grounds that all information arising from the outside does so as mental representations of one sort or another. Further, it could be said that the essence of the psychoanalytic point of view is that these representations, and all our feelings, are profoundly affected by what arises from the inside. In a paper some years ago (Sandler, 1983), I suggested that the theoretical models, theories, or schemata used by psychoanalysts are not fully integrated with one another and that there were significant differences between our private psychoanalytic theories and what I called the “public” or “official” theories of psychoanalysis. I suggested that the complex private preconscious working model of the psychoanalyst—essentially a set of not very well integrated part-theories—had an important advantage over the public or “official” ones in that “such a loosely-jointed theory … allows developments in psychoanalytic theory to take place without necessarily causing radical disruptions …” (p. 36).

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