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Maurico Cortina, M.D. The Greatness and Limitations of Erich Fromm's Humanism

 

Abstract: Erich Fromm's most important contribution to “the science of man” and psychoanalysis was the development of an existential humanism. This existential bent was based on his view that the human condition developed over the course of human evolution trans-survival needs for meaning that transcended our biological needs for survival. His second important contribution was a brilliant Marx-Freud synthesis, which he used to explore how ideologies can mask economic conditions, and how shared social values that are internalized (social character) are adaptive to socioeconomic conditions. A third contribution was his view of psychoanalysis as a “center-to-center relation” where analysts and patients are able to recognize and share their common humanity as a vehicle for change. Like all major contributors to understanding the human condition, Fromm had strengths and weaknesses. I propose some revisions that address some of the weaknesses while supporting the strengths.

 

Philip Cushman, Ph.D. Relational Psychoanalysis as Political Resistance

 

Abstract: The intellectual movement known as the interpretative turn is used to develop an understanding of relational psychoanalysis as a way of preparing patients and practitioners to resist the dominant way of being and political structures of the current era. This interpretation is explored by discussing a newly emerging configuration of the self—the flattened, multiple self—and its connections to 1) the growing influence of neoliberal proceduralism, and 2) an increase in both political indifference and political fundamentalism in the general population. By providing a brief history of relational psychoanalysis that highlights its moral vision and political implications, and by drawing on film, television commercials, online gaming, and psychotherapy practices, it is argued that relational practice can oppose and offer an alternative to a neoliberal way of being, the political arrangements it serves, and the psychological attitudes that enable it. By explicitly recognizing some of the political meanings of relational practice it is hoped that practitioners will be helped to develop political practices within the clinical hour more directly than in the past.

 

Shelly L. Heusser, M.A. When Two Foreigners Meet: The Relational Matrix of Shame and Internalized Homophobia

 

Abstract: When encounters with homophobia are so strongly borne throughout one's existence, the cultural, social, and institutional interdictions against one's very being become internalized, and the process of dehumanization continues from within. This article is built on the premise that the trauma surrounding the individual's early sense of “foreignness” necessitates a process of dissociation in which the segregation of self-states, along with shame and guilt, perpetuate internalized stigma and sever empathic connections. Using Bromberg's (1996) concept of dissociation, an extended clinical example is provided to illustrate the way in which my patient's dissociative switch in self-states led to a dissociated homophobic reaction in his gay therapist, and how empathy resulted from the discovery of shame-filled affective states arising out of the intersubjective experience of shame and homophobia in the clinical situation