Relational psychoanalysis and its discontents

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter proposes that a self-critical discussion within every psychoanalytic model, exploring its own unique vulnerable aspects, is more fruitful than polemics between competing schools. It points to the danger facing the innovative and valuable relational tradition of becoming yet another theoretical fortress striving for "purity", and overemphasizing its difference from other psychoanalytic traditions rather than seeking valuable contributions from divergent sources. A few clinical examples from the author's own practice are given, portraying some specific risks facing relational clinical work. These include a potentially premature emphasis on intersubjectivity and interaction, clouding the regressive needs of some patients, depriving the need of certain patients for a dependable authority, and disregarding the way patients may experience the analyst's openness and self-disclosures as narcissistic or defensive.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDe-Idealizing Relational Theory
Subtitle of host publicationA Critique from Within
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781351625593
ISBN (Print)9781138080157
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 selection and editorial matter, Lewis Aron, Sue Grand, and Joyce Slochower; individual chapters, the contributors.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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