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, 56 (3), 885-907

Psychoanalytic Developmental Theory: A Contemporary Reconsideration

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Psychoanalytic Developmental Theory: A Contemporary Reconsideration

Karen Gilmore. J Am Psychoanal Assoc.

Abstract

Psychoanalytic developmental theory has never enjoyed a broad consensus among psychoanalytic thinkers. In today's postmodern era, its relevance and basic premises are even more in question as a legitimate part of psychoanalytic theorizing. Part of the problem has been (1) the serious errors perpetrated historically in the name of psychoanalytic developmental theory and (2) its current state of disarray in the wake of piecemeal efforts to rectify these errors. Nonetheless, its presence is discernible in every psychoanalyst's theory and clinical work, whether or not it is acknowledged or brought into a cohesive theoretical frame. The point of view of "intersubjective ego psychology" (Chodorow 2004), embraced by a growing number of analysts interested in development, offers a more flexible and inclusive paradigm for psychoanalytic developmental thinking in order to preserve its rightful place in contemporary psychoanalysis.

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