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A Contemporary View of Some of Joseph Sandler's Key Concepts

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Three of Sandler’s seminal papers—“The Background of Safety” (1960a), “The Concept of the Representational World” (1962), and “Countertransference and Role Responsiveness” (1976)—are scrutinized and discussed to explore the evolution of his thinking over some 40 years. His early insistence on the importance of feeling states and intrapsychic mechanisms and processes, especially those relating to internal objects and internal object relationships, are emphasized as well as the interactions and complementary relationship between theoretical formulations and clinical findings, as exemplified in his research activities in the Index Department of the Anna Freud Centre in London and in his paper on countertransference and role responsiveness. Interrelationships with other concepts, both clinical and theoretical, show up in Sandler’s work as well as that of other eminent authors up to the present time, and similarities in conceptualizations are highlighted. Sandler’s continuous efforts to clarify psychoanalytic concepts and to integrate differing psychoanalytic conceptualizations and models are illustrated by references to and quotations from the salient papers.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Training and Supervising Analyst, German Psychoanalytical Association; Editor, International Psychoanalysis

Publication date: April 15, 2005

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