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Bachant, J.L. Lynch, A.A. Richards, A.D. (1996). On Perspectives, Theories, Models, and Friends: A Reply to the Relationalists. Psychoanal. Psychol., 13(1):153-155.

(1996). Psychoanalytic Psychology, 13(1):153-155

On Perspectives, Theories, Models, and Friends: A Reply to the Relationalists

Janet L. Bachant, Ph.D., Arthur A. Lynch, DSW and Arnold D. Richards, M.D.

We are grateful for this opportunity to respond to the “relational” issue of Psychoanalytic Psychology (PP; Vol. 12, No. 1) and support Karol Marshall's remonstration about the need to clarify what exactly the category relational refers to. In this regard, Jessica Benjamin seems to have agreed with a fundamental point of our article: that the drive/relational dichotomy, the original great divide of the Mitchell–Greenberg contribution, is highly problematic. What, then, is relational psychoanalysis? A theory? A perspective? An affinity group? Is it, as Benjamin suggested, a theoretical tendency? If relational denotes something other than a theory commensurate with other theories, how much can we say about it?

Stephen Mitchell, in discussing the role of the body in relational psychoanalysis, seems to have located the central difference between Freudian and relational psychoanalysis in their respective attitudes toward postmodern philosophical thinking. In contemporary psychoanalysis, postmodernism is most clearly represented by the social-constructivist point of view and is a legitimate springboard for developing new psychoanalytic theory.

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