JUDY GUSS TEICHOLZ DESCRIBES THE STATUS OF CONTEMPORARY PSYCHOANALYSIS,

INTEGRATING RELATIONAL AND SELF PSYCHOLOGY PERSPECTIVES -

ADAPTED FROM: "BLURRING THE BOUNDARIES BETWEEN CONTEMPORARY THEORIES" (2015)

 

Self Psychology: AFFECT REGULATION AND ATTUNEMENT

 

Self Psychology places "...an emphasis [via empathy] on mutual sharing, understanding[,] and resonance,...", i.e., mutual affect regulation and [affective] attunement," (pp. 9-10)

 

Self Psychology:"...strengthen[s] the patient's sense of self through the integration of previously split-off experience [,] a process...facilitated by attuned engagement in the therapeutic dyad (Kohut, 1971)...the failure of such integration, often a dissociative response to earlier trauma..., [triggers] enactment of the split-off experiences...[Thus] in treatment[,] the repeated elaboration of the earlier traumatic experiences...can...be shared, witnessed[,] and modulated...[an intersubjective] mutuality of regulation...the opening of pathways to mutual empathy" (p. 8-9).

 

"...Self psychologists...acknowledge enactments but tend more to search for their own contribution...especially when the patient feels hurt by that contribution...in the here-and now..." (p. 11)

 

 

Relational Analysis:

 RECOGNITION, DIFFERENCE AND CONFLICT BETWEEN SELF AND OTHER

 

Relational analysts emphasize recognition, difference, and conflict: 

"...Relational analysts...[tend] to see the negotiation of interpersonal conflict as more central to psychic growth than do most Self Psychologists..." (pp. 9-10)

 

"the mutuality of recognition...refers to appreciation for the unique psychic life or mind in both self and other...called "intersubjective relatedness...", which is consistent with Self Psychology, in requiring an empathic pathway into the mind of another.

 

Relational analysts "...express dysjunctive subjectivity [which]...highlights the analyst's unconscious participation in enactments [in order to] open new windows to the patient's unconscious [with] less emphasis on how the analyst's unconscious contributes to what gets enacted..." (p. 11)

 

In fostering both recognition/difference and  moderate degrees of affective attunement, both perspectives can be said to share the characteristics of:

1) affective attunement & affect regulation

2) authenticity of self-expression (i.e., of 'difference' & 'recognition')

3) the principle of Disruption & Repair (Kohut, 1984, Lachmann & Beebe, 1994)

 

"co-created and hard-won truths...can emerge only from direct intersubjective experience...intersubjective truths that are unique to the...dyads...and not ...generalizable to the lives of others..." (p. 3-4)

 

"this bidrectionality of influence (Beebe, 2005) lends a degree of unpredictability to psychic process..." (p. 4)

 

"...there's far greater diversity than we once thought in the pace, paths and outcomes of how human beings grow and give expression to their unique individualities..." (p. 4)

 

"...we...see self and relationship as an endless feedback loop of lived experience, with relationship creating selves and selves creating relationships..." (p. 5)

 

"...the self [is] originally constituted and constantly revised through intersubjective processes...in the relational context of individual development, affective exchanges between self and other contribute to psychic structure..." (p.6)

 

"...self and relationship are just two sides of the same co-constructed coin, with affect the predominant organizing (or dis-organizing) experience in their emergence...Bucci (2001) writes that[,] based on repeated interactions with caregivers[,] the self becomes organized and is constituted by memory structures forged through emotional experience..." This neuroscientist's view complements Kohuts "self-selfobject"  relationship, Stolorow's [et al], concept of "intersubjectivity", and Winnicott's most poignant assertion (1960), "...that there's no such thing as a baby; there's only a baby with a caregiver..."(pp. 6-7)

 

The concept of 'selfobject' for Kohut implied that: "...the self  [is] a complex, fluid, permeable and everchanging process, evolving only in interaction with others... Kohut's selfobject system was in constant flux, shifting among multiple self-states under the influence of relational engagement..." (p. 6)

 

"...the self develops only in intimate exchange with another, and[,] [it is] because minds are permeable, fluid[,] and ever-changing[,] that psychotherapy, involving as it does an emotionally intimate relationship between two people, can engender psychic change..." (p. 7)

TWENTY-NINE

TEICHOLZ