What's New

A Message from the Editor

DIVISION/Review: a quarterly psychoanalytic forum is a journal of review essays, commentary, interviews and discussion. Like its predecessor, Psychologist-Psychoanalyst, it will be open to viewpoints from across the spectrum of psychoanalytic schools and disciplines. The review will primarily address topics related to clinical psychoanalysis, but also to cultural and intellectual fields beyond that focus.

By David Lichtenstein

When something new appears in the world it is always a reworking of something old. This is the paradox of the new: that it is never simply new but fundamentally linked to the past. It is in the link itself that the possibility of the new resides. This is also an apt way to describe the psychoanalytic act: establishing links to the past that bring something new into being. The exact sort of linking that can facilitate this event is one of the fundamental questions of the field.

Hans Loewald wrestled with this paradox of the new in his essay of a half century ago, On the Therapeutic Action of Psycho-Analysis (1960). In that essay which seems ever more contemporary, Loewald explored the notion that for an effective psychoanalysis to take place the analyst must be seen as something new—a "new object".This is a point of reference necessary for an analysis to begin. However that new object, or new object relation, is at the same time, something created by the analytic work itself. The new point of reference, the new object, or new relation, is simultaneously already there and also always created anew. It is the fundamental skill and responsibility of the psychoanalyst to know about the workings of this paradoxical object and its peculiar temporality.

As Loewald put it: "The patient can dare to take the plunge into the regressive crisis of the transference neurosis which brings him face to face with his childhood anxieties and conflicts, if he can hold on to the potentiality of a new object-relationship, represented by the analyst." (Loewald, 1960).

The logic is reversible: it is only by plunging into the regressive crisis that the new potential can be found. The patient can discover the potential of the new if he or she can take the plunge. The new is encountered in reworking the past, but that reworking can only occur if there is already a place and point of reference for the new. The virtual object—to give Loewald's concept a new name—which is both the necessary prerequisite for an analysis to take place and the ultimate outcome of that analysis, is the essential creative fulcrum of the psychoanalytic act.

This virtual object of Loewald is deeply related to both Lacan's object a (which he called his one real invention) as well as Winnicott's transitional object.

In this inaugural issue of the DIVISION/Review are several authors' meditations on this paradox of the new at the heart of psychoanalysis. See Paola Mieli, Avgi Saketopoulou, and Jamieson Webster in this issue. In addition, Jacqueline Sanders has contributed an extended reminiscence of her professional relationship with Bruno Bettelheim as a way of opening anew several questions about his work. Mark McKinley, Jonathan Shedler and Tamar McClintock Greenberg each address questions about the relationship between psychoanalysis and empirical research bringing one of the oldest questions of the field, the scientific status of psychoanalysis, into the present. Indeed the central format of DIVISION/Review, namely the review essay, is by its very nature an encounter with something past, a published work, in the interest of finding something new. See Nina Thomas' What Have We Learned from History?, in this issue. Our reviews will not only be an opportunity to keep abreast of work in the field, but to encounter the ideas of the reviewer on the occasion of reading the work or works in question.

The existence of this inaugural issue of D/R marks the appearance of something new in the world. And it too is linked to the past. In this case, the past is represented by Psychologist-Psychoanalyst, the newsletter of the Division of Psychoanalysis of the American Psychological Association. For the past thirty years since the inception of this division, the newsletter has been the newspaper of record. It is the repository of this organization's history.

However, with the electronic media now available for both distribution and storage, the decision was taken to transfer the activity of reporting and recording the history of the division onto the web. From now on, InSight, a monthly newsletter distributed through the internet and posted on the Division 39 website will become the repository of our organizational memory as well as the site of news and announcements of current events. That we take this moment, when recorded history is increasingly on line, to launch a print publication is an expression of our belief in new possibilities.

Psychologist-Psychoanalyst will be published no more as a print newsletter and in its place will be the DIVISION/Review: a quarterly psychoanalytic forum and the online monthly newsletter InSight: Division 39 E-News.

Looking back, Psychologist-Psychoanalyst was more than a newspaper of record. It was a quarterly review that William MacGillivray, especially, as editor since 1999, took from being an effective organizational newsletter to something far beyond the usual functions of such a journal. Through his extraordinary knowledge of the field, critical intelligence, and devotion to the task, Bill created a journal that, in addition to being the historical record of an organization, was a forum for ideas and a valuable resource regarding intellectual and scientific developments in the field of psychoanalysis. It was a quarterly that one turned to stay current about the life of Division 39 and in the process invariably discovered significant reviews and essays of enormous interest and importance.

When Dr. MacGillivray was elected to be the next President of the Division of Psychoanalysis, it became clear that he would have to relinquish the role that he had created for himself as editor of that invaluable publication. I can imagine that he leaves with a certain relief from the burdens of producing a regular periodical, a profound sense of satisfaction for what he created, and also a certain sadness to be giving up the project that he has been so successful with for these past ten years. It is an exciting and humbling challenge to follow in his path.

With Bill's departure as editor and with the creation of InSight as the newsletter of record, the old newsletter Psychologist-Psychoanalyst faced an opportunity to create itself as something new. DIVISION/Review is the outcome of that opportunity. With a new name and a new format D/R will be something of the old newsletter but something different as well. No longer carrying the timely news of Divisional events, the summaries of meetings and panels, or reports from the officers of the Division, D/R will be fully devoted to review essays, commentary, and discussion representing the broad field of clinical psychoanalytic thinking.

Regarding the name DIVISION/Review, the goal was to create a signifier that indicated the purpose of the new publication, identified its area of interest, connected it to Division 39, and had the potential to appeal to the wider psychoanalytic community. The result was DIVISION/Review: a quarterly psychoanalytic forum. This name developed over a six month period from November of 2009 through April of 2010 and was the outcome of numerous conversations and exploration. As a vehicle that will represent the entire Division, it is important that its development and rationale be as widely understood as possible.

We chose the first word division as an apt instance of over determination and the multiplicity of meaning that is so central to the psychoanalytic endeavor. It, of course, refers to our common name 'Division 39'. Whatever proper name we have or ultimately take, we are widely known as Division 39 or even The Division. It seemed apt to use that as part of the name of the review.

At the same time, division, in the sense of the inherent split character of human subjectivity is a core principle of psychoanalysis. There are and have always been debates about how to construe the division within the human subject, i.e. as a consequence of repression, dissociation, disavowal, or how to construe its topography, i.e. conscious/unconscious, ego/id, horizontal versus vertical, etc., but it remains the case that a distinguishing feature of psychoanalysis as compared to most other views of the human subject is that we maintain the view that the subject is divided and that this has profound meaning for human life and for therapeutic action.

This fortuitous conjunction of a designating function (re: Division 39) and of a meaningful reference (re: the division of the human subject) appealed to many members of the Division and the new name quickly gained currency. Choosing a name, as is often true for new parents, seems impossible until it happens and then it seems inevitable.

The second word in the name review also has multiple meaning. Firstly it simply designates the nature of the publication. It is to be a Review, of books, films, and current topics in the field. However, to re-view, i.e. to take another look, is also central to the psychoanalytic endeavor. One of the things that take place in psychoanalytic work is to review, to revisit, to return, in situating the possibility of the new.

Division review, or the divided subject taking another look at itself, seems like an apt description of our professional endeavor.

Therefore, taken together the words Division and Review, and then joining them graphically as DIVISION/Review, refers to essential aspects of the psychoanalytic endeavor and does so in the playful and subtle way akin to how meaning emerges in psychoanalytic work, i.e. not obviously yet there all along. The slash (/) allows the joining of the two words it also makes reference to the mathematical sign for division, i.e. a separating line.

To those who might prefer a name signifying integration or the uniting of differences, I would simply point out that it is only by virtue of recognizing difference that meaning comes into being and that without that recognition no integration or synthesis is possible. Analysis is the marking of divisions which make new relations possible. Theories of attachment are always fundamentally theories of separation as well.

That Loewald, Lacan, and Winnicott share a deep interest in the virtual object does not eliminate the divisions between them. Indeed it is from within the divisions in their thinking that new creative work on those ideas becomes possible. It is in the articulation of difference that all possibilities of creation and indeed of integration reside. There can be no connection between things that are not already separate.

Even the division between Psychology and Psychoanalysis, a division marked by the hyphen in the prior incarnation of this journal, is one that we should neither fear nor gloss over, as MacGillivray also pointed out in one of his final editorials. There are questions that arise from within that division that have a rich potential for new insights into both fields.

DIVISION/Review is a new journal but like its predecessor Psychologist-Psychoanalyst it will be open to viewpoints from across the spectrum of psychoanalytic schools and disciplines. It is a new review but like its predecessor it will be both part of Division 39 and of the wider psychoanalytic community. It will publish writers from within the Division and from outside of it. Like its predecessor, it will primarily address topics related to clinical psychoanalysis, but also to cultural and intellectual fields beyond that focus. Grateful to and respectful of our origin, we look forward to creating something new together.