In The Psychoanalytic Ear and the Sociological Eye: Toward an American Independent Tradition (Routledge 2020) Professor Nancy J. Chodorow gives name and shape to an American middle group between the ego psychological and interpersonal approaches: The American Independent Tradition or intersubjective ego psychology. Through her careful exegesis of theoreticians like Hans Loewald, Erik Erikson and her contemporaries Warren Poland and James McLaughlin she is able to distill an analytic attitude in which the patient’s individuality takes front and center. We get a measured account of how her thinking about the American Independent Tradition evolved over the last two decades, about its "Americanness" and about a powerful approach to technique in which the patient becomes a centered unit by being centered upon.
Turning outward from the consulting room, the in-depth study of psychoanalytic theory is framed by a focus on a larger context, the connection between individuality and society. Chodorow advocates for a return to an interest in the social and social sciences in psychoanalytic thinking. At the same time, she rues the lack of attention within the social sciences to the serious study of individuals and individuality.
Sebastian Thrul is a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst in training in Germany and Switzerland. He can be reached at email@example.com.