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Thinking Here and Now –

Conversation  with Innovators in Psychotherapy (zoom)

Aner Govrin and Sharon Ziv-Beiman hosting

a conversation with
Jay Greenberg

The Independent voice of American Psychoanalysis

a conversation with
Jay Greenberg

Sunday January 9th 2022, 7:30pm (Israel Time; UTC+2)

Jay Greenberg and Steven Mitchell were considered two of the essential architects of the contemporary Relational turn in America.  Greenberg and Mitchel's groundbreaking book Object Relations in Psychoanalytic Theory, published in 1983, can be defined as a landmark of the Relational revolution. The book became an immediately essential reading and a central pillar of the contemporary psychoanalytic theory, and it remains so today.

Mitchell founded the relational movement with his colleagues at NYU. He believed that the model integrating the ideas of theorists characterized in the book as "relational" could replace one based on the importance of motivation shaped by Freud's concept of an endogenous drive.

On the other hand, Greenberg remained an independent analyst, striving to intertwine relational theory with the wisdom of traditional psychoanalytic thought. He was concerned that the relational approach, as it was becoming a "movement," was repeating what they had preached against. They were attempting, he wrote, "to develop a fixed psychoanalytic methodology applicable to all analysts, all analysands, all dyads."

Since he departed from Mitchell, Greenberg has positioned himself as a master in comparative psychoanalysis. He became an illuminating and sophisticated commentator on Field theory, Klein theory, Bion theory, trauma, enactment, and many others. He is the most advocated supporter of an open-minded discourse that will keep our discipline alive and generative. Greenberg can be seen as representing "The American Independent" (or Middle) Way, much like the Independent group of Winnicott, which refused to follow Klein or Anna Freud strictly.

In this conversation, Aner Govrin and Sharon Ziv-Beiman will discuss with Jay Greenberg his unorthodox approach to unorthodoxy.

We will inquire what it's like to leave a revolution? How he differs from the relational approach although he identifies with its emergence? What is his criticism of the relational revolution?

We will discuss the process of conceptualizing with Mitchel the thesis of drive versus relations as the organizing principle of psychoanalytic models. How did the work on the book Object Relations develop? What were the areas of agreement and disagreement between him and Mitchel?

What changes the analytic encounter, and how can one integrate between good-old classical components and more contemporary ones?

Jay Greenberg is a member of the faculty and a Training and Supervising Analyst at the William Alanson White Institute in New York. He is co-author with Stephen Mitchell of Object Relations in Psychoanalytic Theory and author of Oedipus and Beyond: A Clincal Theory. Greenberg is the author of more than 80 articles addressing issues of psychoanalytic theory, clinical practice, and the history of psychoanalysis.

Greenberg served as Editor of The Psychoanalytic Quarterly from 2011 through 2020. Before that he was Editor for North America of the International Journal of Psychoanalysis (2007-2010) and as Editor of Contemporary Psychoanalysis (1994-2001). In both his editorial work and his own writing he has embraced a comparative psychoanalytic approach, beginning in his book with Mitchell and expanded to include the relationships among approaches that have emerged in different parts of the world.

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