Relational Developments in Psychoanalysis

Term: Spring 2010

Subject Code: GPSY

Course Number: 6313

In recent years there has been a revolution in North American psychoanalysis that has led to a related series of developments collectively referred to as Relational Psychoanalysis. This developing tradition consists of a synthesis of a number of different traditions including American Interpersonal Psychoanalysis, British Object Relations Theory, Self Psychology, Feminist and Postmodern Theory. Some of the key features of Relational Psychoanalysis are as follows: 1) it assumes a two-person psychology (as opposed to a one-person psychology, 2) it is based upon a constructivist epistemology, 3) there is an emphasis on the mutuality of the analytic relationship, 4) there is considerable interest in the role that the analyst's countertransference plays in the analytic process, 5) the classical ideals of analytic anonymity and abstinence have been abandoned, and have been replaced with an emphasis on participation and engagement , and 6) there is an emphasis on the role the analytic relationship itself plays as a change agent (in addition to the roles played by insight and understanding). In this seminar we will study the work of key relational thinkers including: Stephen Mitchell, Irwin Hoffman, Jessica Benjamin, Lewis Aron, Jay Greenberg, Jody Davies, Stuart Pizer, Emmanuel Ghent, Philip Bromberg, Charles Spezzano, Thomas Ogden, Adrienne Harris, Owen Renik, Michael Eigen and Donnel Stern. Similarities and differences between these thinkers will be examined and the implications of important theoretical shifts for intervention will be explored.

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