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Spezzano, C. (1996). Response to Tabin's (1995) Review of Affect in Psychoanalysis. Psychoanal. Psychol., 13(2):259-265.

(1996). Psychoanalytic Psychology, 13(2):259-265

Response to Tabin's (1995) Review of Affect in Psychoanalysis

Charles Spezzano, Ph.D.

Tabin (1995) reported that she heard me present a paper in 1991. “As I listened,” she recalled, “it seemed to me that he was leading to a new way of appreciating the shape of an analysis, by tracking what happens in terms of the patient's affects” (p. 456). By contrast, her reading of my book, Affect in Psychoanalysis (Spezzano, 1993), appears to have left her with the impression that I wrote the entire volume only to make the point that affects matter. As a result, she tries politely to open her review with something more than a yawn, while reminding the reader that in 1937 Brierly made the same point.

In fact, the argument I put forward in the book is that not only were affects implicitly or explicitly treated as derivatives of something else in each psychoanalytic theory (e.g., drives, fantasies, representations, conflicts), but that there is a possibility of pulling elements from seemingly incompatible theories together if one assumes affects to be the foundational elements of psychological life rather than derivative. Tabin read through this and also underestimated the extent to which psychoanalytic authors were, into the early 1990s when I was working on this book, still lamenting the marginalizing of affect in psychoanalytic theorizing and the lack of a coherent theory of affects. I quoted many of these authors in establishing a rationale for my having written the book.

Despite Tomkins's (1962–1963) brilliant and revolutionary work on affect in the early 1960s, his ideas have not been interwoven with theories of transference, conflict, and defense to produce a new psychoanalytic theory of affect.

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