From Infant Research to Psychoanalytic Technique?

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Originally published in Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books, 1994, Vol 39(2), 181–183. Reviews the book, Self and Motivational Systems: Toward a Theory of Psychoanalytic Technique by Joseph D. Lichtenberg, Frank M. Lachmann, and James L. Fosshage (1992). This book is very difficult and technical and not for the average practicing clinician. Although the authors have gone to considerable lengths to try to make their points clear, including nice subheadings and useful clinical vignettes, the book attempts to present so many different ideas that it is very difficult to keep them all in mind at the same time. The authors maintain that it follows from their theory that the empathic introspective stance can be more consistently maintained and that the language of the analyst's interventions will shift from “the language of impulse-defense, wish resistance, and need-frustration to an explication of themes, organizing principles, interpretive sequences, model scenes, and motivations in relation to selfcohesion and the pursuit of selfobject experiences.” They further contend that the intersubjective context is emphasized by their theory, in which the analyst and the analysand interact with each other to produce any given psychoanalytic situation, with a different psychoanalyst it would be a different situation. They are to be congratulated in having produced a very carefully written and professional effort toward a theory of psychoanalytic technique. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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