A Meeting of Minds: Mutuality in Psychoanalysis
In A Meeting of Minds: Mutuality in Psychoanalysis, Lewis Aron provides an illuminating extension of the relational model of psychoanalysis. Aron's richly nuanced assessment incorporates much-needed definitional clarification about what exactly mutuality is and is not. For Aron, the mutuality inherent in psychoanalysis entails a necessarily asymmetrical relationship; the reciprocal influence of patient and analyst on one another does not imply a relationship of equality. Further, the principle of mutuality alone does not encompass the psychoanalytic situation. Rather, it must be balanced by issues of self-regulation; psychoanalysis implies a dialectical tension between autonomy and mutuality, between one-person and two-person psychologies. Aron credits Sandor Ferenczi and Otto Rank with the earliest appreciation of this dialectic, and it is in their writings that he finds the roots of relational psychoanalysis. In the course of his multifaceted exploration of mutuality, Aron offers a history of relational theory, numerous excursions into comparative psychoanalysis, and a reevaluation of the pillars of the classical theory of technique, including transference, countertransference, interpretation, and resistance. From his reappraisal of the concepts of interaction and enactment, to his examination of the difficult issue of analyst self-disclosure, to his concluding remarks on the relational import of the analyst's ethics and values, Aron squarely accepts the clinical responsibilities attendant to a postmodern critique of psychoanalytic foundations. He shows that the relational approach to psychoanalysis is not only a framework of comprehension, but a powerful guide to issues of techniqueand therapeutic strategy.
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