By Lewis Aron
During this richly nuanced evaluation of some of the dimensions of mutuality in psychoanalysis, Aron exhibits that the relational method of psychoanalysis is a robust advisor to problems with method and healing technique. From his reappraisal of the strategies of interplay and enactment, to his exam of the problem of analyst self-disclosure, to his concluding comments at the relational import of the analyst's ethics and values, Aron squarely accepts the scientific duties attendant to a postmodern critique of psychoanalytic foundations.
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Additional resources for A Meeting of Minds: Mutuality in Psychoanalysis
Another important forum for the spread of the relational approach has been the annual meetings and presentations to local chapters of the Division of Psychoanalysis of the American Psychological Association. This psychoanalytic society itself is a very recent development and the new relational orientation has had wide appeal to many of its members. While Division 39 has many classical analysts, many members have diverse, nonclassical orientations, and the rubric of relational theory offers them a more unified identity.
They saw these contributions as parallel to their own attacks on classical theory, since interpersonalists had long criticized the centrality that classical analysts gave to the oedipal phase and had long disparaged the exclusive use of interpretation as a therapeutic tool. On the other hand, many I-H faculty condemned the object relationists for holding on to outmoded conceptions of drives, continuing to utilize Freudian terminology, advocating regression in the transference, and being preoccupied with internal structures ("internal objects") instead of attending to real interpersonal relations.
But what is relational theory? What is a relational analyst? I have given an introduction to the "politics," or to the sociology, of psychoanalysis, but what is the substance? Here I want to present a brief overview of the essence of relational theory, while I continue to document the formation of the relational orientation as it was influenced by a number of extraanalytic social and cultural forces, particularly feminism and postmodemism. In the next chapter, we have a chance to examine the substance of relational theory in further detail and describe the boundaries of relational theory with other contemporary psychoanalytic points of view.