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Mark, D. Mckay, R.K. (2019). “The Truth of the Session” and Varieties of Intersubjective Experience: Discussion of Aron and Atlas’s Dramatic Dialogue. Psychoanal. Perspect., 16(3):272-286.

(2019). Psychoanalytic Perspectives, 16(3):272-286

“The Truth of the Session” and Varieties of Intersubjective Experience: Discussion of Aron and Atlas’s Dramatic Dialogue

David Mark, Ph.D. and Rachel Kabasakalian Mckay, Ph.D.

If the classical psychoanalytic method can be characterized as one person producing data by way of free association, while the other, after listening with evenly hovering attention, interprets; then—as Aron and Atlas convincingly demonstrate—a more experiential paradigm, unifying an otherwise remarkably heterogeneous collection of post-classical theorists, as well as Ferenczi, is that of two people engaged in a dramatic dialog. In their relational version of dramatic dialog, Aron and Atlas understand an essential dimension of therapeutic action to be that of “generative enactment,” in which the prospective function is as salient as the repetition of past trauma, and in which the intersubjective field itself is both site and mode of dramatic transformation. The analyst follows the patient’s lead in dreaming, playing, dramatizing together. What is jointly created could be called the intersubjective intrapsychic; it’s the dyadic realization of the patient’s intrapsychic world within the analytic relationship. We suggest that alongside this, there is something equally generative in engaging the intersubjective real, by which we mean “what is ignited between you and me”. We look at two cases from Atlas and Aron (2017)and a case of one of ours (RKM) to illustrate both the distinction between the intersubjective intrapsychic and the intersubjective real, and unique therapeutic potentials of the intersubjective real.

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