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Birkhofer, C. (2017). Theoretical Diversity and Pluralism in Psychoanalysis: Change, Challenges, and Benefits. Psychoanal. Psychol., 34(1):114-121.

(2017). Psychoanalytic Psychology, 34(1):114-121

Mitchell Award (2015)

Theoretical Diversity and Pluralism in Psychoanalysis: Change, Challenges, and Benefits

Celeste Birkhofer, Ph.D., PsyD, MFT

Psychoanalysis today is theoretically diverse and this multiplicity of perspectives provides opportunities to enrich our field. However, housing so much variety under one roof presents many challenges. Psychoanalysts are not immune to the age-old problem of reacting to differing others from a place of fear, with unfortunate results. Arrogance, intolerance, and divisiveness have taken a toll on our professional integrity. I will discuss why multiple theories are inevitable and explore the benefits and challenges of dealing with change and theoretical diversity. I argue that pluralism—embraced as an attitude of open-mindedness and respectful engagement with differing others—is essential if we want to create something of value from our differences and be an intellectually alive discipline.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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