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Silverman, D.K. (1986). A Multi-Model Approach: Looking at Clinical Data From Three Theoretical Perspectives. Psychoanal. Psychol., 3(2):121-132.

(1986). Psychoanalytic Psychology, 3(2):121-132

A Multi-Model Approach: Looking at Clinical Data From Three Theoretical Perspectives

Doris K. Silverman, Ph.D.

This article introduces a multi-model approach—an approach that looks at clinical data using three theoretical models or perspectives. These are the Freudian drivedefense conflict model, a self-psychological perspective, and an object relations perspective. I contrast this approach with that of Greenberg and Mitchell (1983) in their book, Object Relations in Psychoanalysis. These authors divided theoretical models into two broad categories—Freud's conflict model is one, and the second is a relational model fathered by Fairbairn (1952) and Sullivan (1940). Greenberg and Mitchell maintain that one needs to adhere to either one perspective or the other and that mixing the two is untenable. I argue against this position and provide research data to support my contention that a mixed model approach is more appropriate. Finally, I present a clinical vignette to demonstrate the usefulness of a multi-model approach.

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