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Seligman, S. (2007). Social Psychoanalytic Research and the Twenty-First-Century Family: Comment on Wallerstein and Lewis (2007). Psychoanal. Psychol., 24(3):459-463.

(2007). Psychoanalytic Psychology, 24(3):459-463

Social Psychoanalytic Research and the Twenty-First-Century Family: Comment on Wallerstein and Lewis (2007)

Stephen Seligman, DMH

Seligman regards Wallerstein and Lewis' paper as an exemplary piece of social-developmental psychoanalytic research, finding it accessible, activist and empirical. He admires Wallerstein and Lewis' careful attention to the influence of social reality on the development of the internal worlds of both children and adults, following a psychoanalytic tradition which has been neglected recently. Since actual family configurations are changing so rapidly in the current American situation, analysts should develop new theoretical and research approaches that reflect these changing realities. Seligman highlights two specific implications of such adaptive shifts: the de-centering of the Oedipus complex as the standard form of psychosocial-family organization of the personality, and increased attention to the role of sibling relationships in development. He calls for more analytic clinical research efforts that will apply the substantial potentials of social-psychoanalytic research in service of the varying groups of children who are suffering in the midst of the array of psychosocial strains in the contemporary culture.

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