Worlds of Experience : Interweaving Philosophical and Clinical Dimensions in Psychoanalysis
Stolorow, Robert D., George E. Atwood, Ph.D., Donna M. Orange
Robert Stolorow presented a day at the Centre for Training in Psychotherapy in Toronto May 5th, 2007.
The intersubjective perspective regards all psychological processes as emanating from personal interrelatedness. First presented by Robert D. Stolorow in his classic work Faces in a Cloud (1978), it is one of the most powerful concepts to be introduced into the post-Freudian era. In Worlds of Experience, Dr. Stolorow and two eminent colleagues elaborate on intersubjectivity, going beyond the clinical and theoretical questions of earlier work to explore the...
Worlds of Experience
It seems that the originators of Intersubjectivity Theory (Stolorow, Atwood, Orange) have come full circle. In their latest effort, Worlds of Experience: Interweaving Philosophical and Clinical Dimensions in Psychoanalysis , they challenge, among other things, the lingering presence of Cartesianism within psychoanalytic theory. They began this exploration over a decade ago with Faces in a Cloud: Intersubjectivity in Personality Theory (now unavailable). The "isolated mind" of the Cartesian stance has no place in psychoanalysis in their model, and they have taken it upon themselves to remove it, backed up by Heidegger's similar critique of philosophy. The implications for theory are numerous. Instead of a theory centered on drives, we have an emphasis on contextual affects within relational systems and a temporal view in which every present moment incorporates both the past and, in the Heideggarian sense, future possibility. They reject notions such as one- or two-person psychologies as implying one or two isolated minds. There are only relational systems, even on the unconscious level.
What is most interesting about this work is its thoughtful and illuminating grounding in philosophy, something rare in psychoanalytic theorizing. If psychoanalysis, a theory always already in flux, is to continue to be relevant and not caught up in the rather tired debate as to its status as a science (or not), I think more attention needs to be paid to the place of psychoanalytic theory within the larger world of philosophy, especially now that other disciplines like neuroscience are having more and more influence on our theory (for good and for ill). Psychoanalysis is not an isolated mind, either.
See also Donna Orange's beautifully written book, Emotional Understanding: Studies in Psychoanalytic Epistemology for an earlier, and even more rigorous example of a direction psychoanalysis might (and perhaps ought) to take.
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